Friday, January 30, 2009

Captain "Intangibles"

Was there a lamer off-season "drama" (I use the term very, very loosely) than the Scott Boras fueled free agency of Jason Varitek? For a thirty-something catcher with eroding defensive skills and no bat, with all the WEEIdiots trying to quantify the skills of a .220 hitting catcher and stealing the title of "Captain Intangibles" from Jetes in NY is laughable at best. (Jetes earned the title with his "otherworldly base-running intelligence" and "his ability to drive his teammates to be the best they can be".)

To wit, to think that Jason Varitek is the only catcher in baseball working with starting pitchers to game plan is laughable. Varitek does not block low pitches very well anymore, has not been physically able to catch Tim Wakefield for a number of years, has never thrown out many base-runners, and I haven't even started on the fact that his bat disappeared four years ago (or the same time Trot Nixon lost his mojo).

Intangibles is a term that sports agent use for over-rated players and managers use to justify playing crappy players who suck up to them. For instance, Joe Torre kept Mel Stottlemyre as his pitching coach in New York for years for his "intangibles". Of course, Stottlemyre was a horrible coach whose only "intangible" was to mix up a bad-ass gin and tonic. Hell, I had great "intangibles" playing ball--I couldn't hit, was slow, undersized, and was never confused with anyone who had a rocket-arm, but I had great intangibles, baby!

Seriously, Varitek is a back-up catcher now who the Sox overvalued a number of years ago, and who there was absolutely NO MARKET what-so-ever for him. Thanks to the release of Dougie "Chick Parm" Mirabelli last year, Varitek was scared out of taking arbitration, and for some reason he thought a team would give up a first round pick to sign him. I think the Sox front-office was praying some idiot would hand them a draft pick for Captain Intangibles.

Hopefully, the front office can still swing a deal for a young catcher. As it is, I expect Josh Bard to be near full-time behind the plate by August. Alas, the Varitek Era is bound to end not with a bang, but with a whimper.

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