Jason Varitek Jason Varitek

Red Sox minor-league offer to Varitek a sign of respect

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According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Red Sox have offered Jason Varitek a minor-league contract with an invite to Spring Training.  While a roster spot isn’t guaranteed, Varitek will have the option to fight for one should he choose to accept the deal.

It appears as though the choice for Varitek is between coming to Sox camp or to retire.  Heyman reports that Varitek’s agent, Scott Boras, is not seeking opportunities elsewhere after making $2 million with Boston last season.

The offer to ‘Tek is a classy one by the Boston organization and further points to the respect that Cherington and the front office clan have for Varitek.  He was a huge identity for the team for so many years and reaching out to him one last time is a nice touch.

The former captain was an easy target for last year’s collapse in September.  He was after all the captain of the team and many pointed the finger at him for a lack of leadership to right the ship when the team needed it the most.  I too was hard and critical of Varitek and while I don’t regret my opinion or stance on him and his actions or lack there of, I do agree with the offer to invite him to Spring Training.

The offer is a nice way to say, “hey Jason, we appreciate all you’ve done here for us.  We’re moving in a different direction at the catching position, but will give you an opportunity to WOW us one more time.”

Some may say this is a spit in the face to ‘Tek, but think of it this way.  It could have been easy for Cherington and his posse to part ways with Varitek as soon as he became a free-agent.  Not give him any invite, but rather kick him to the curb like a used, washed up toy that nobody wants around.  But knowing what ‘Tek has done for the city and the organization, extending this offer is classy and shows respect even with the outside chance of him making the squad.

Personally I hope ‘Tek decides to retire.  Far too often we watch as athletes that are best suited for a coaching job try and play for one more year.  While Varitek still had some pop left in his bat last season, he unfortunately became a bit of a liability behind the plate, failing on numerous occasions to throw out base stealers.

Let’s be honest, he doesn’t have a great chance of making the club, not with Kelly Shoppach and Jarrod Saltalamacchia emerging as the front runners to platoon behind the plate.  Of course then there is Ryan Lavarnway who is expected to challenge for a roster spot but may be a mid-season call up when he’s been able to hone his skills a little more in AAA.

If nothing else, having Varitek report to Spring Training will only continue the madness that has followed this club for the past several months.  A fresh start is needed and although number 33 could be in the spring training lineup, it could be an opportunity to send him off in style.

Nice touch by the Red Sox organization.

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