Former Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek says his greatest contributions come on the field, which could lead him to a managerial position.
Over the final seven seasons of his playing career Jason Varitek would often hear himself referred to as Captain. With his days behind the plate in the rear view mirror, the former Boston Red Sox catcher may now be looking ahead to the day when players in the dugout will instead call him Skip.
Former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington hired Varitek for a front office role in 2012, where he has remained throughout a leadership change that has seen Dave Dombrowski take over at the helm. The last three years Varitek has been utilized as a coach and a scout, while also getting involved in the amateur draft.
Now he may have his eyes set on a role a bit closer to the action.
The Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson reports that in a conference call on Monday to discuss his induction into the Red Sox Hall of Fame, Varitek hinted at the idea that a managerial position could be in his future.
"“Having been part of the front office and having the ability to still get on the field everywhere I go, I know I have more impact on the field,” said Varitek. “Where that role takes me, through time, I’m not positive when that will be, but I think my greatest impact to give back to the game is on the field.”"
Varitek has long been viewed as manager material, dating back to his playing days when his high baseball IQ and rapport with teammates earned him the rarely given title of team Captain. The three-time All-Star has Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards on his resume, has caught a major league record four no-hitters and won two World Series rings during his 15 year career with the Red Sox.
As impressive as those accolades are, it’s the knowledge that he’s accumulated after he retired from the game that has prepared him for the next step to the manager’s seat.
"“I’ve learned how everybody behind the scenes functions, how people management functions, how the different networks throughout the organization function,” explained Varitek. “I’ve learned — which I also learned later in my career as a player — how to coach, how to translate knowledge that I have to both ends, to player and management, and to facilitate between the two, in some cases.”"
His path to a managerial position is a bit unorthodox given he has no experience managing at any level, but the valuable lessons he carries from his time working in the front office gives him a unique perspective. The move also wouldn’t be unprecedented. Mike Matheny in St. Louis, Brad Ausmus in Detroit and Kevin Cash in Tampa Bay are all recent examples of former players that became managers without any experience in the role. One thing they all have in common is that, like Varitek, they are former catchers.
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Varitek reportedly interviewed for the managerial position in Seattle back in October, but the Mariners ended up going with Scott Servais as former manager Lloyd McClendon‘s replacement.
Varitek will have to bide his time waiting for another opportunity to come along, which likely won’t happen in Boston anytime soon given that John Farrell‘s contract runs through the 2017 season. Even if the Red Sox decide to move on from Farrell before then, Torey Lovullo would likely be their top choice to take over. Boston’s bench coach agreed to a two-year extension after leading the Red Sox to a 28-20 record down the stretch while Farrell was away from the team during his battle with cancer.
While it would be great if the Red Sox could keep Varitek in the organization, the time may come when he needs to move on in order to ascend to the manager position. His recent comments reaffirm the notion that such a move would still be appealing to him, which suggests it’s only a matter of when, not if, Varitek gets his shot.