Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jason Varitek - worst regular in MLB?

Lyford takes a look at an interesting question - "Jason Varitek - worst regular in MLB?" My first thought was to shout Yuniesky Betancourt! However, Lyford makes an excellent case.

In fairness I do want to point out a couple of things - first off what was the alternative to Jason Varitek? George Kottaras - the greatest Canadian-born catcher in Red Sox history and his .690 OPS?

Secondly - as bad as Varitek has been this season - I think it more fair to look at Varitek's contribution over the whole season since we don't know if any injuries are involved (anyone who watches post game interviews has become accustomed to seeing Varitek completely covered in bandages and ice). As bad as Varitel has been - the catchers position (if you take away statistical anomaly Joe Mauer) - isn't really that potent to begin with. Was Varitek really as bad as big names Russell Martin (.689 OPS), Ivan Rodriguez (.681 OPS) or rookie stud Matt Wieters (.722 OPS)? What about non-stars Rod Barajas (.689 OPS), Jason Kendall (.613 OPS) or Dioner Navarro (.588 OPS). All those catchers have played about just as much or more than Varitek for their teams this season.

This past off-season many wanted the Red Sox to trade with Texas for stud Jarrod Saltalamaccia but would Salty's .661 OPS in 283 AB have been better for the Red Sox than Varitek's .717 OPS? This off-season it will be interesting to see what they do. As bad as Varitek has been I'm guessing he's back for one more year as Victor Martinez's backup.

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