March 18, 2007

THE WEAKEST LINK:

'Tek wants to hit stride: Catcher aiming to turn back the clock (John Tomase, 3/18/07, Boston Herald)

"I struggled last year," Varitek said. "If I'm not productive this year, it won't be because of my age. It will be because I just wasn't productive."

The 2006 season is one Varitek would like to forget. He batted a career-low .238 and barely slugged .400. He missed all of August with a knee injury, then returned to hit just .213 with one home run in September and October.

Their catching killed the Sox last year--Varitek's dreadful year on offense after years of bad defense, having to trade value for Mirabelli, and bringing in Javy Lopez instead of a defensive cipher when Varitek got hurt--they ought not let it happen again this year. Teammates seem to genuinely revere him and his leadership, so keep Varitek as the back-up and Tim Wakefield's caddy, but break in a George Kottaras as the starter or go get a Molina.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 18, 2007 8:26 AM
Comments

Given his emaciated look last year, there's a strong possibility that it was going cold-turkey on the cream and the clear that did Tek in last year.

Seems perhaps that it takes a year plus to rebuild the body mass lost (or to find another illegal drug) -- see Giambi, Jason, et al (including perhaps Carl Pavano)-- after one goes cold turkey.

So perhaps Tek will bounce back some offensively.

They really do need another catcher though. Shame The Boy Wonder trade away two decent young ones last year.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 18, 2007 9:56 AM

Kottaras is equivalent, though perhaps not going to be durable enough.

Posted by: oj at March 18, 2007 12:52 PM

Mirabelli is Wakefield's catcher. If Varitek could catch the knuckleball, the Sox wouldn't have had to get Mirabelli back.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at March 18, 2007 7:26 PM

It's all he's good for anymore. The problem isn't catching it, which Mirabelli can't either, but being mentally tough enough to deal with failing at trying.

Posted by: oj at March 18, 2007 8:20 PM

Jim:

I think it's called "the clear", not the cream.

Although who knows what these guys have taken? I can't wait for the fight over Barry Bonds' corpse.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 18, 2007 8:58 PM
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