Lowe, Varitek again find themselves linked

November 05, 2008 - 7:11 am
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Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek were both acquired by the Red Sox from the Mariners at the trading deadline in 1997, and the batterymates both played central roles in Boston's 2004 championship. Now, the two find themselves once again in a shared boat, namely a desire to stay with (for Varitek) or return to (for Lowe) the Sox that may or may not be a market reality. Agent Scott Boras, who has said at the G.M. meetings that Lowe will go anywhere he has a chance to win, made a sort-of suggestion that the sinkerballer would be a tremendous fit in Boston or New York. Boras cited his client's postseason success (three clinching wins in 2004, a 6-5 record and 3.33 ERA) in suggesting that Lowe would be a great fit for the three teams (Sox, Yankees, Mets) in the Northeast. "Postseason pitchers are hard to find," said Boras. "A lot of New York teams hope to be there. Boston teams hope to be there annual. When you sign players, I think the caveat there is that you'€™ve really got to look hard at the postseason resume to determine if those players will be beneficial." As for Varitek, Boras continued to suggest that catcher's should be judged by their defensive impact. Rather than repeating yesterday's citation of Jorge Posada's four-year, $52.4 million deal as a relevant data point, Boras suggested that there should be an even higher salary bar for catching. "You'€™re going to have No. 3 starters making $12, $13 million a year. You'€™re going to have Nos. 1 and 2 starters making anywhere from $18-25 million," said Boras. "When you talk about the fact that the person who is handling them, who can improve them, who can do all the things necessary to advance them, we really have to look at the fact that if we have a catcher who makes the staff'€™s ERA a half-run lower when you look at the pitching, the prominence and defense is something you have to look at as value. That'€™s why I was talking yesterday about Jason... "(There are catchers who produce) literally little or no offense, but they'€™re playing in the big leagues because they can catch and throw," Boras continued. "If you have a catcher that puts your team in a position to win and masters your pitching staff, that'€™s the issue. The issue is far afield from what he hits. If he does hit, if you have a catcher that does that and hits 25 homeruns, he may be a $20 million player. "There just  aren'€™t any catchers who have the ability to have the defensive acumen to lead a pitching staff where your team has a .600 winning percentage and you'€™re hitting 25 homers and driving in 90, those catchers don'€™t exist. They just don'€™t exist." Of course, Varitek was precisely such a player in 2003 and 2004, the two seasons before he was last a free agent (and when he re-signed with the Sox for four years and $40 million).