Jason Varitek

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Jason Varitek

Jason Varitek

Position Catcher
Team Boston Red Sox
Years of Experience 8 years
Age 33
Height 6 ft 2 in
Weight 230 lbs.
Bats Both
Throws Right
College Georgia Tech
2005 Salary $8,000,000
Place of Birth Rochester, Michigan
Selection 1st round, 14th pick, 1994 amateur draft.
Drafted by Seattle Mariners
Major League Debut September 24, 1997

Jason Andrew Varitek (born April 11, 1972 in Rochester, Michigan), is a switch-hitter, catcher, and captain of the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball.

While in high school, he was a member of the Lake Brantley Patriots baseball team located in Altamonte Springs, FL. The Patriots won the state championship and were later named as the number one team in the nation, by USA Today, in 1990. Varitek then went to Georgia Tech, where he was a three-time College Player of the Year, and played in the 1992 Summer Olympics. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the 1994 amateur draft and was the 14th pick overall. A pioneer of the loopholes in the draft process, Varitek signed with a small team in the independent Northern League before agreeing to terms with the Mariners, and consequently did not enter the Mariners' minor league system until 1995. He was traded with pitcher Derek Lowe to the Red Sox during the 1997 season, in return for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb.

Varitek was called up for a single game in 1997 and played 86 games in 1998. He became the Red Sox full-time catcher in 1999, playing 144 games in that season. In 2001 he was sidelined for the season with a broken elbow after he fell catching a foul ball on July 7.

In 2004 Varitek compiled a career-high .296 batting average with 18 home runs and 73 RBI. Since he was obtained from Seattle in 1997, he is a .271 hitter with 97 home runs and 418 RBI in 832 games. Although he is 33 years of age, Varitek's late entry into the major leagues means that he has caught fewer games than contemporary catchers in his age cohort (e.g. Iván Rodríguez, Javy López).

In the 2004 World Series, Varitek batted against the St. Louis Cardinals' Jason Marquis, the first time two former Little League World Series participants have faced each other in the Major League Baseball World Series. Varitek had played in 1984, for Altamonte Springs, Florida.

After the World Series, Varitek became a free agent and re-signed with the Boston Red Sox on December 24. Varitek initially asked for $55 million over 5 years and a no-trade clause; however, due to the "most favored nation" structure of existing Red Sox contracts, other members of the team such as Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon would receive the same no-trade protection granted in any new contracts. Instead, the Red Sox offered him a $40 million contract over 4 years (including signing bonus), and instituted a new policy whereby any player who accrues 8 continuous years on the team may not be traded without his consent. Varitek completes his 8th year in September 2005.

In addition to tendering him a contract, the Red Sox surprised Varitek by appointing him only the third team captain in franchise history. Carl Yastrzemski (1969-83) and Jim Rice (1986-89) have been the only two captains.

Varitek, who helped lead his team to its first World Series victory in 86 years, is valued for his ability to work with pitchers, using scouting reports and video footage to plan each game. Varitek has one notorious weakness, which is catching for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield; in the 2004 American League Championship Series, Varitek suffered three passed balls in a single inning (the 13th) of Game 5, with Wakefield on the mound. During the regular season, Wakefield is caught almost exclusively by Doug Mirabelli.

In 2005 Varitek hit .281 with 30 doubles, 22 homers and 70 RBIs and won the Silver Slugger Award for catchers. Varitek also won his first gold glove for catchers in 2005.

External links

  • Baseball Reference (statistics and analysis) [1]
  • ESPN (profile and daily update) [2]