Jason Varitek in Pinstripes?


O.K. Don’t kill me, anybody. He’ll probably sign with the Red Sox within the next six seconds. I’m just saying that he’s still out there and maybe he’s getting a little antsy.
And let’s face it. There’s a history of Boston players crossing over into enemy territory, most of whom felt unappreciated and/or underpaid.
There was, of course, Babe Ruth. He crossed over and became, well, The Babe.
Sparky Lyle crossed over and won three straight AL pennants and two World Series and was the first reliever to win the Cy Young award.
Wade Boggs crossed over and had four straight .300+ seasons, earned two Gold Gloves and helped the Yankees win their first World Series in 18 years.
Roger Clemens crossed over after taking a detour through Toronto. He won two World Series and notched his 300th win and 4,000th strikeout as a Yankee. (Go ahead. Put an asterisk next to him if you must.)
Flash Gordon crossed over. He was a terrific set-up man for Mo and led the AL in holds in ’04 with 36.
The list wouldn’t be complete without Johnny Damon, who swore he’d never leave Boston but took the extra year the Yanks offered (and the extra millions). He batted .303 last season and was one of the most consistent hitters on an underachieving team.
Back to Varitek. Why in the world would he sign with the Yankees and why in the world would the Yankees want him?
1) Scott Boras. The guy lives for this stuff.
2) Jorge Posada. What if he can’t throw?
3) Jose Molina. What if he can’t catch every day?
4) Chad Moeller. Gone.
5) Ivan Rodriguez. Gone.
6) Francisco Cervelli. A prospect from Triple A.
7) Kevin Cash. Another crossover, but a lowly one on the order of Mike Myers, Alan Embree and Mark “the strikeout king” Bellhorn.
Are there obstacles to a deal? Absolutely. Varitek hates #13.
But they’d work it out. That’s what being a big leaguer is all about.
There’s also the money. Do the Yankees have any left? I’m not their accountant, but probably.
And there’s the issue of Varitek’s batting average; it hovered near the Mendoza line last season. But it just beat out Nick Swisher’s and the Yankees took him. We take lots of players who look like they’re ready for the glue factory. Sometimes they revive. Sometimes they don’t. Nothing is for sure in this game, not even Jason Varitek’s next address.


  1. Kylie

    I’m not sure that this would happen, but like you said, Scott Boras. And I think his captain mentality might clash a bit with Jeter’s.
    That aside, I think Tek and Lester are the only Sox I can actually say I love. Please don’t go to the Stankees, Tek!
    Kylie — http://kylie.mlblogs.com

  2. Jane Heller

    Hey, Tom. When it comes to baseball, nothing surprises me anymore. I doubt this one will happen but it’s fun to speculate.

    I can see your crossed fingers and toes, Julia, all the way from California. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

    I’m not sure the “captain mentality” would figure into a deal, Kylie. There was a rumor Varitek was bound for the Tigers at one point and he wouldn’t have been the captain there.

    I try, metsmainman. Lord knows, I try.

  3. p.polanco

    ugh. do not want.

    However, I really did not like the Damon signing at first because it pushed Bubba Crosby out of the picture – which made it harder for my girlfriend to watch baseball with me.

    However, I really love Damon now. Seriously, he’s got to be one of my favorite players.

  4. Jane Heller

    Your girlfriend loved Bubba? I can’t even remember what he looks like. I like Damon. He’s great in the leadoff spot. His liability is his throwing arm, of course, but he’s still pretty fast getting to balls. And he seems like a good guy in the clubhouse. I really admire his work with Wounded Warriors.

  5. Elizabeth D

    Varitek is the captain of the Red Sox! He wouldn’t abandon ship! I don’t know if he could ever make amends with A-Rod. I think Manny Ramirez is more likely to go to the Yankees (even though he said something along the lines of what Damon said in ’04). So many Red Sox players have made that cross! I’m hoping that Varitek won’t.
    And I LOL’d with that asterisk by Clemens’ name 🙂

  6. Jane Heller

    Hm. Didn’t think about the draft pick, Rob. But we did get I-Rod when Jorge went down. So it’s not that impossible we’d go after another veteran catcher.

    You’re probably right, Elizabeth, and Varitek will be the Red Sox captain until he retires. But I think he would make amends with A-Rod. Everybody hated Clemens when he first came to the Yankees, but they loved him as a teammate. Things change when you share a clubhouse. I couldn’t resist the * for the Rocket.

  7. Jane Heller

    I couldn’t imagine Damon with the Yankees either, Hyunyoung. All I’m saying is that anything is possible in this crazy game. Likely? No.

    I’m surprised no one has used the “s” word before you, Jeff. I figured it would be in the first comment.

  8. redbirdchatter

    A guy I work with will die if the Yankees steal (his words) all the Red Sox catchers. Of course, you’ve got one of the Molina brothers. What more does anyone need behind the plate? But, seriously, you’re right. The Red Sox need to sign Varitek NOW.

  9. hseely@twcny.rr.com


    Many publications offer “kill fees” to writers, when they want to buy a certain piece, even if they don’t intend to publish it.

    Varitek? Kill fee?

    el duque

  10. Jane Heller

    I love having Jose Molina, Kathy. He saved the Yankees when Posada went on the DL and has been invaluable in throwing runners out. His offense? That’s another story, but you can’t have everything.

    Molina’s not going anywhere, Babu. My speculation has more to do with insurance than actual need. I figured, we got I-Rod last year. Why not Varitek this year? But I’m sure the Red Sox will work out a deal with him. At least I think I’m sure.

  11. Jane Heller

    Oops. Don’t know how I missed your comment, duque. I’m familiar with kill fees, and the Yankees should put them in all contracts. We could have exercised the one on Pavano after the buttocks injury.

  12. prosenivy

    You know, maybe it’s weird. I’m not a fan of the Yankees or the Red Sox and yet it never bothers me as much when popular players from one team crossover to a rival’s team as when a Yankee becomes a Red Sox player, or vice-versa. I don’t know why, there’s just something that seems so wrong about it. And if I’m not mistaken, the amount of Red Sox players becoming Yankees far out number Yankees becoming a key part of Beantown? You think that statement’s accurate, or no?

    Prose and Ivy

  13. Jane Heller

    I know exactly what you mean, Ryan. It feels like a crime against nature when the Red Sox and Yankees exchange players! And it does seem like the Red Sox shed players they think are on the downside of their careers and the Yankees are only too happy to take them on, as opposed to the other way around. I remember when Bernie Williams hinted that he might go to Boston rather than retire, but it never happened.

    I was waiting for someone to bring up Pettitte, Greg. Finally! Yes, he could go to Boston except you guys aren’t interested in our castoffs (see above).

  14. rosehof14

    There is a reason why we put Darth Vader from Star Wars and the Yankees in the same category. The Yanks feed off the ego of the powerful but under appreciated. You bring the full power of the force…I mean swartz…I mean…oh! YOU know what I mean!


  15. bleachermon

    Good luck with the book launch let us know if you have one in NY. varitek turned down arbitration when he would have probably gotten 10 million and he would cost another draft choice. He is going nowhere and he is not as good as Molina.

  16. Jane Heller

    Thanks, bleachermon. Will give a shout if I’m doing a NY signing. As for Varitek, the clock is ticking……

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