Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How Black Is The Hole?

Look at this 2 through 7: Pedroia, Papi, Youk, Bay, Drew, Lowell. Those guys can hit. Now look at the "black hole": Ellsbury/Coco, Lowrie/Lugo, and Varitek/Cash. Jacoby's gonna be better in '09 than he was in '08. Lowrie also has to improve, beginning his first full season. So that's a pretty damn good 8 everyday hitters, with Coco as the 4th outfielder. (And who knows what will happen with the shortstop position since Lugo will be healthy.) That brings us to the bat of Jason Varitek.

That's what this post is really about. Tek. Guy forgot how to hit. People are pissed about that. At the same time, there's all the talk of how great he is with the pitching staff, which some people swear by and some people pass off like it's completely meaningless. Plus he's "the captain" and sentimentality and all that.

But he's an anchor. Tossing him aside and putting someone new in there could turn the catcher position into what we've seen from the shortstop position lately.

If you've got a team that was a win away from the World Series, and one guy has a lousy offensive year, but plays a key defensive position and never gets hurt, do you get rid of him?

I think we're jaded.

Remember the days when you didn't even care what your catcher (or shortstop or second baseman) did offensively? I feel like if this were '83, and we were looking at each guy, we'd get to Varitek and say, "Solid behind the plate, doesn't hit but so what..." and then move on to the next guy.

Today I heard the Sox could be interested in Chris Iannetta. The guy gets on base a lot, and he has power. And he's from Providence! So I started getting all excited, but then I thought, Is it worth it to trade prospects for anybody when you're in a situation where that position is completely solid defensively, and is basically your one true liability on offense? Besides, Tek went through a divorce last season, and his hitting can't get much worse. Can it? I remember ripping the shit out of Posada saying how fun it was to watch his numbers steadily decline, as they were--until he upped his average by 60 points. So Varitek may not be through at the plate yet.

But if he goes, I'm prepared. It's not like he's in the prime of his career. If they wanna try someone new right now, I'll support that. Though it would be much easier if there was a proven, young, star catcher who also can hit out there ready to be signed. Which there isn't. I feel like we need to have a better plan in place. We don't NEED a new catcher in 2009. But we will very soon after that.

Your last two sentences quite literally said it all. I want Varitek to stay but I realize he's going to need help, two days off in every five. He'd still go over the opposing team's hitters with the pitcher of the day every game...that's vital. P.S I believe Coco batted over .300 the second half of the season. He's too often injured but boy, he had a great last 81 or so games. At least the ones he played.
My 2 cents.
We don't need a NEW catcher.
We need a new BACK-UP catcher.
We need a 2nd catcher who is adequate defensively but has a better stick to bring in in late game pinch-hit situations and then finish out the last inning or 2 behind the plate.
Or perhaps just an additional decent pinch-hitter on the bench which lets us P-H for Tek, then bring in the back-up on defense, altho that also means another roster spot. The 2 for 1 would be better.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States