Varitek Exercises Player Option for 2010
|11.11.09 at 4:54 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek has exercised his $3 million player option (that includes the potential for up to $2 million in bonuses) for the 2010 season. Varitek his .209 with a .313 OBP and .390 slugging mark in 2009, and he ceded playing time to Victor Martinez after the switch-hitter was acquired from the Indians at the trade deadline. Sox GM Theo Epstein has made clear that the job of starting catcher for the Sox will belong to Martinez in 2010, meaning that Varitek’s role would be that of a backup.
“We’re happy to have Jason back,” Epstein said. “We look forward to a good year from him in 2010. He means an awful lot to the organization on and off the field. He helps solidify our catching position and is also a big asset to the pitching staff. We’re happy that he decided to come back and stay in the organization that he’s been such an important of.”
Though Varitek’s on-field role diminished over the course of the year, his Sox teammates insisted that the team captain still had plenty to contribute, whether on the field or in the clubhouse. The catcher worked closely with Martinez to help his transition to a new pitching staff in the middle of the season.
“He’s definitely one of those guys I’d love to see back, even if the transition starts like it started at the end of the year,” pitcher Josh Beckett said. “I think there’s a lot of things that a lot of people can learn from him. And him being around, it’s never a bad thing. He’s so great with young guys and he knows to run a clubhouse and that’s why he wears that ‘C’ on his chest.
The Sox decided not to exercise a $5 million team option on Varitek for the 2010 season. He signed his current contract — a one-year, $5 million deal that featured both player and team options — in January.
Here is the official Red Sox press release:
The Boston Red Sox today were notified that catcher Jason Varitek has exercised his 2010 contract option with the club.
The Red Sox announced on Monday that they declined to exercise the 2010 team option on Varitek’s contract. The catcher had until today to exercise or decline the 2010 player option on that contract.
Varitek, 37, was behind the plate in 108 games for the Red Sox in 2009, including 106 starts. He led the American League with a 3.87 catcher ERA and ranked second among AL backstops with a .997 fielding percentage (3 errors/896 total chances). At the plate, the switch-hitter batted .209 (76-for-364) with 14 home runs and 51 RBI.
Acquired by Boston from Seattle on July 31, 1997, Varitek has hit .259 (1,232-for-4,765) with 175 home runs and 705 RBI in 1,439 career Major League games over parts of 13 seasons with the Red Sox. He has been behind the plate in a club-record 1,381 contests and ranks among franchise all-time leaders in overall games played (9th), doubles (8th, 290), home runs (12th), RBI (15th) and walks (15th, 583).
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