Ever since Red Sox captain Jason Varitek exercised his $3 million player option to stay with the team, there has been much renting of clothing and gnashing of teeth. Some have argued that this arrangement is a ticking time bomb–guaranteed to cause friction in the 2010 clubhouse. Others have lamented that the Red Sox front office is showing “disrespect” to their long-time leader by declining the team option and “forcing” him to accept a humiliating cut in salary.
First of all, team management had little choice in this affair. They could have over-paid Varitek to be a back-up to the clearly superior Victor Martinez–but that would simply be a foolish gesture. But, once they declined this option, the ball was exclusively in Varitek’s court.
And, please, can we bring some degree of perspective to this whole thing? We are in the midst of a deep economic crisis that affects virtually everyone in America–aside from the elite corps of professional athletes. A three-million dollar salary to catch roughly 32 ball games next year works out to $93,750 per start. Convince me that this is somehow a level of disrespect.
All in all, considering the state of the Boston Red Sox, the situation has developed about as well as could be expected. Tek stays with the club he has given his whole heart and soul to for his entire 13-year career. He is assigned to a role that matches the new reality of his capabilities. Good resolution. Let’s move on.