Free Agent Stock Watch: Jason Varitek

Jason Varitek won't sign another $40MM deal, but his chances in free agency are looking much better than they were a couple months ago. Let's face it: few of us imagined that Varitek's slugging percentage would exceed Victor Martinez's on base plus slugging this far into the season. Varitek's six homers give him a .342/.419/.868 line, but be warned: Varitek has only batted 43 times.

Martinez and Varitek share more than Boston's catching duties. Both are headed for free agency and both stand to gain or lose a considerable amount depending on their play in the next four and a half months. Varitek's fly ball percentage (66%) and home run to fly ball ratio (33%) are not at all sustainable, so that .868 slugging percentage will probably be halved by the end of the season. Still – no one can take Varitek's hot start away from him, even if no one expects him to sustain it. 

Given the two-year deals Jason Kendall, Ivan Rodriguez and Brian Schneider signed last offseason, it appears that teams are willing to pay a premium for veteran catchers. With Scott Boras by his side and Joe Mauer off of the market, Varitek could ask for a multi-year deal if he keeps his walk rate around his career average, maintains some power and throws out more than the occasional baserunner. That's a challenge for any catcher, let alone a 38-year-old, but let's not count Varitek out.


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