Jason Varitek is a free agent, and his agent Scott Boras is already asking for a king's ransom. At 36, Varitek is showing the wear and tear of 12 years spent behind the dish.
So how should the Red Sox handle this situation? Pay up? Offer a one-year deal and see what happens? Let him go?
As beloved as The Captain is in Beantown, it is probably time for the Red Sox to look elsewhere, despite the team's 60-percent winning percentage when he is behind the plate. (Stat provided by Boras!)
There are some potential trade options out there, which Tony Massarotti details in this post for the Boston Globe.
The Red Sox have poured money into their minor league system since Theo Epstein took over as GM. In fact, Baseball Prospectus ranked Boston's farm system No. 4 overall at the start of 2008. So Epstein has plenty of chips to throw into the pot.
As Massarotti points out, the Rangers would be an ideal trade partner. Texas is always searching for pitching, and the Rangers have four catchers on their 40-man roster – Gerald Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and Max Ramirez.
It seems so simple, so why hasn't it happened?
As every executive likes to say at this time of year, there are a lot of "moving parts." If the Red Sox can upgrade their offense significantly on the free-agent market, they can make a lesser trade (Laird?) and keep their pitching prospects because the rest of their lineup would allow them to carry a mediocre catcher. At the same time, if the Sox lose on someone like Mark Teixeira, the cost for Saltalamacchia or Teagarden could go up.
JETER PUTS IN A PITCH TO SABATHIA
Somehow I'm thinking the massive bags of cash would be incentive enough for CC Sabathia to sign with the Yankees, but apparently Derek Jeter fielded some questions over the phone from the portly left-hander. Jeter, for his part, claims it wasn't much of a sales pitch.
"I'm not trying to sell anyone on New York. I don't think you have to sell people on playing in this organization. People have questions, but it's not like I have a sales pitch."
The folks over at the Big League Stew had some fun with potential questions Sabathia might have asked Jeter, including No. 3: "You gonna eat your fries?"
BRAVES PUTTING THE HEAT ON PADRES
Apparently the Atlanta Braves want to pressure the San Diego Padres to speed it up a little in the Jake Peavy trade talks. Someone in Atlanta is floating the idea that the Braves, eager to upgrade their starting rotation, have plenty of options besides the 2007 Cy Young winner.
First, on Monday, there was a report that the Braves were expected to pursue free agents A.J. Burnett and Ryan Dempster, claiming that only CC Sabathia is out of their range. This one seemed curious since the Braves have been careful to keep spending under control in recent years, and would likely face plenty of competition from the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Angels and others for the top free agents.
On Tuesday, it was reported that yes, the Braves are tired of waiting around for the Padres. Their next potential target? Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants.
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