Last week the Red Sox did not offer salary arbitration to team captain Jason Varitek even though they lost starting catcher Victor Martinez to the Detroit Tigers. Despite not offering arbitration, the Red Sox still hold the right to negotiate and they did.
According to a Red Sox source Varitek will sign a one year, $2 million deal with another $300,000 in playing time incentives.
Varitek was garnering interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers who have not yet tendered starter Russell Martin. The talks were said to be “exploratory.”
As it stood Jarrod Saltalamacchia was going to be the opening day starter behind the plate.
Varitek would have been the odd man out when it came to catching prospects for next season. Saltalamacchia, who was acquired in a trade last season is a sure thing to make the roster which left the Sox with a decision between Martinez and Varitek or trying the open market for another option. With Martinez leaving for Detroit Varitek was the next logical choice.
Varitek has been a key member of the Red Sox since joining the club in 1998 and has been one of the best in the game for the last decade. Saltalamacchia will be able to learn a lot from Tek, especially when it comes to calling a came, considering Tek has called a MLB record 4 no-hitters.
While I’m definitely happy to have Tek back, I would have much preferred the Sox to have thrown some money at Martinez. As far as Saltalamacchia goes, I haven’t seen enough of him to form an opinion on his potential as a long term option but he is young (25 years old) and should be getting a bulk of the reps as the number one guy.