42-Year-Old Catcher – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Jason Varitek in 2014. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Jason Varitek Contract Information:
Became a free agent in Nov. 2011.
Varitek will announce his retirement Thursday, the Boston Globe reports.
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Jason Varitek: MLB Games Played By Position
Jason Varitek Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Jason Varitek: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Jason Varitek.
Varitek assumed a bigger role than expected of him in 2011, but tailed off noticeably in the second half of the season. That's a pattern we've seen from him the last few seasons. At this stage, all of his value is tied up in his product knowledge of the Red Sox. Because he's so familiar with Boston's starters and key relievers, there was some incentive to having him around in a backup role, but after the late-season collapse, which seemed to center on a leaderless clubhouse with questionable behavior from the starting staff, the Red Sox chose not to bring him back and Varitek announced his retirement in February.
Varitek signed a one-year deal with Boston, giving them a backup catcher with great knowledge of American League hitters, a familiarity with the team's starting rotation, and one of the position's better game-callers and handler of pitchers. Unfortunately, he's at the age when catchers rarely play more than 40-50 games in a season. At this time, the Red Sox will go into the season with Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the No. 1 catcher, but Boston will be in trouble if he doesn't pan out. Expect the Red Sox to add a third and possibly a fourth catcher to compete for the job. Varitek proved to be a more efficient offensive producer in 2010, playing in a backup role, but the bat tends to go south the longer the season wears on.
Varitek exercised a player option for 2010 and returns to Boston, though not as the starting catcher. Victor Martinez has surpassed Varitek, whose hitting woes became too much for the Red Sox to endure in the lineup every day. He's still a top-notch game-caller with a good baseball mind and great knowledge of American League hitters. That will make him much more like a coach than a player this season.
Varitek re-signed with Boston after hitting a career-low .220 in 2008. The Red Sox are clearly looking for their next backstop, but bought themselves another year (or two, with mutual option for 2010) to locate their future catcher. However, Varitek returns as the No. 1 man behind the plate. Despite the declining bat, he's praised by every pitcher that comes through Boston for his game-calling and knowledge of hitters. There's real-world value to those skills that makes Varitek important to Boston's current pitching staff. Fantasy players essentially have to ask themselves if Varitek's double-digit homers are worth the 425-plus at-bats of potentially category-busting average.
While Varitek was healthier and a better hitter in 2007 than he was in 2006, he still remains an overrated fantasy catcher. Varitek's .255 average in 2007, while still poor, represented an uptick from his horrid .238 mark in 2006. His power numbers (17 HR, 68 RBI) were quite good for a catcher, but were offset a bit by a relatively low OPS (.788). Varitek turns 36, which is when catchers tend to go bad. Varitek still has a bit of power, but he's nearing the end of a fine career.
Varitek has always been underrated in the fantasy world, since his main contributions to the Red Sox don't show up in any statistical category. However, 2006 marked the worst year of his career in all aspects. He posted career lows in nearly every statistical category while missing significant time with a left knee injury. His .325 OBP was nearly .25 lower than his career average, and his .725 OPS was .130 lower than his 2005 mark. His .238 batting average in 2006 was more than 30 points lower than his career average as well. The good news is that Varitek's terrible 2006 probably won't be repeated in 2007 because he seems to have fully recovered from his knee injury. However, given that he's a 34-year-old catcher, don't expect him to top .800 OPS or break a .350 OBP.
The Red Sox starting catcher gets praise from every pitcher that comes through Boston. He's one of the game's better offensive catchers and stays fresh by getting every fifth day off (Varitek rarely catches knuckleballer Tim Wakefield). He'll be 34 this April, so getting a regular day off helps -- he's averaged 22 homers over the past three years (age 31-33). Still, his advancing age raises concerns about a power drop off. Whether that happens or not, the Red Sox captain is vital to the team's pitchers and will get his 450 at-bats.
Although he'll be 33 when the 2005 season begins, Varitek is one of a handful of catchers that can do it with the glove and the stick. You should keep in mind he's just a .271 career hitter and much of his market value is attributed to his handling of Boston's pitching staff. Expect the Boston captain to play 130-plus games behind the plate.
Varitek posted solid numbers in 2003 and has become one of the game's top five catchers. And at the right time, too, as he is in the final year of his contract. He's in the middle of a very potent lineup, so there's no reason to expect a drop off in his production. Varitek was one of several players to emerge with a leadership role in Boston and could find himself extended for a couple of years.
Varitek, 30, came back from elbow surgery in 2002 and played in 132 games. He hit .266 with 10 homers, 27 doubles and 61 RBI. He'll provide consistent, if unspectacular, production from the bottom third of the order. Under Varitek's handling, the Sox were seventh in the league in ERA, so he'll play often. He shouldn't cost too much and he won't kill your stats.