When the Red Sox declined to exercise their $5 million option on Jason Varitek, it briefly sent the baseball fans of this fine city of ours into a subtle-but-very-real panic. (You felt it too, yes?) Yankees fans had to quickly calculate how much more difficult it would be to defeat Boston without a .209 hitter clogging up their lineup, while Mets fans had to wonder whether their front office could possibly be crazy enough to sign the aging catcher. In either case: the horror!
But no matter: Varitek exercised his $3 million player option yesterday, meaning he’ll return to the Sox as the backup to Victor Martinez. It’s hard to imagine Varitek playing anywhere but Boston, though it’s also hard to imagine anyone but Boston wanting him. His appeal at this point is as “Jason Varitek, beloved Red Sox captain,” even if that means a liability in the lineup and behind the plate with runners on base. And yes, we’re well aware that one day, hopefully a long time from now, the Yankees could find themselves in the awkward position of needing to find a roster spot for their own beloved captain simply because he’s their beloved captain. But we’d hope Derek Jeter would have the good sense to call it quits before it comes to that.
Varitek Will Return To Red Sox As Martinez’s Backup [Hartford Courant]