Tuesday Quick Hits: Varitek, Ortiz, Prospects and Office Space
In Mike Judge’s now supremely dated “Office Space,” Milton Waddens is a meek, dweeby, paper-pusher who by way of a computer glitch, continues to receive his paycheck years after being laid off. This wouldn’t be so bad, if someone had actually bothered to inform him. And so he continues to show up day in, day out, growing angrier with his co-workers who continue to “borrow” his red Swingline stapler.
Jason Varitek is Milton.
The fact of the matter is that the decision has already been made for him, just apparently, no one told him. Entering the offseason, the Red Sox were in need of a backup catcher. Rather than re-sign Varitek, they opted to bring back former prospect Kelly Shoppach, most recently of the Tampa Bay Rays. An offer remains open for Varitek to attend spring training, but it’s little more than a courtesy.
The Red Sox have been taking Jason Varitek’s stapler for a few years now. It started when the team traded for Victor Martinez in the middle of the 2009 season and continued with the acquisition of Jarrod Saltalamacchia following Martinez’s departure after 2010. Shoppach should have been the last straw. But still, Varitek continues to hang around.
It must be strange to work in a profession where at 30, your best years are behind you and by 40, no one wants you. And so, it’s not hard to imagine why it seems so difficult for some players to accept the reality of the situation. Let alone a two-time World Series champion, three-time All-Star with a gold glove and silver slugger to his name. It’s cruel. That, though, is the nature of baseball.
I should mention that “Office Space” ends with Milton comically burning the building down.
At least things aren’t that bad, yet.
Some quick hits from yesterday, Monday 13th:
- The Red Sox and Cubs have submitted briefs regarding compensation for Theo Epstein, Jon Heyman tweeted. He added that a decision could come this week.
Of course, a decision may not come this week. And Heyman may have well just made this up. Not being one to let facts get in the way and all.
- The big news for the day was David Ortiz and the club avoiding arbitration, agreeing to a one-year $14.575MM deal as first reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney.
In reaching an agreement, just hours before the scheduled hearing, the Red Sox continued their streak of avoiding arbitration dating back to 2002.
The contract represents a split down the middle for the two parties, Ortiz having sought $16.5MM and the Red Sox, $12.65MM. It’s also a bump in guaranteed dollars from the $12.5MM paid to the designated hitter in 2011. Mostly importantly, the club severely limited the risk of paying for past performance. 2011 was a markedly improved year for Ortiz, posting a .953 OPS having not cracked.900 since 2007. The problem for Ortiz is that it was just that, a year unlike any other he’s seen recently, and frankly, one that he’s not likely to duplicate at this stage of his career. Should his stick with the Red Sox past this year, he’ll likely continue to do so on one-year contracts.
- Kevin Goldstein’s, Baseball Prospectus’ prospect guru released his top 101 prospects list.
In 2011, Jose Iglesias and Anthony Ranaudo made the list. In 2012, following disappoint seasons, neither player is to be found. In their place are four new names; Xander Bogaerts, SS (32), Brandon Jacobs, OF (46), Will Middlebrooks, 3B (55), and Ryan Lavarnway (98). See the complete list here.
Be sure to check back for a review of Goldstein’s just released top 11 Red Sox prospects, where we’ll take a look at each player.