Thursday, May 29, 2008

Varitek is (not at all) the majors' most valuable catcher

At the, a site I write for off and on, one Aaron Schwartz claims the opposite - that Jason Varitek is baseball's most valuable catcher.


Varitek is undeniably the most valuable catcher in the league.

I will deny that, as will most baseball fans with things we like to call a "brain."

Without reading further, one can assume what this piece will entail. Varitek is great at "handling the pitching staff" and "making the young pitchers comfortable." Four no-hitters? He's the sole reason for those. Hitting the baseball well and regularly? That's for roid-heads. Heartless machines only concerned with "numbers" and "stats." Not in my baseball!

He has proven game in and game out that he deserves to wear the coveted “C” (captain) on his chest.

Proven that he deserves to be the captain: .268/.350/.472 with 11 2B, 6 HR, 15 BB, 37 K

Catching four no-no's, throwing out 26.9% of base stealers (tied for tenth in baseball) mentoring the young staff, all that makes up for that offensive void ten-fold.

And thanks for clearing up what the "C" means.

Not once has Varitek ever taken credit for coaxing these rare feats out of his pitchers.

Has any catcher ever done this? Ever?

"Yeah, Nolan Ryan pitched a helluva game, but it was all me out there, catching like a mofo."

The first three no-hitters caught by the Red Sox captain were Hideo Nomo in 2001, Derek Lowe in 2002 and Clay Buchholz in 2007.

All of them (except Buchholz, stay tuned) prime examples of no-hitters being batshit luck.

A fifth one was only one out away when Curt Schilling shook off Varitek’s sign and subsequently gave up a hit to Shannon Stewart with two outs in the 9th inning last year.

Asshole. Who would have the gall to shake off a catcher of Varitek's captain-iness?

I watched this game and Schilling shook off Varitek multiple times, I think even in the ninth inning. If he'd have shook him off and gotten the perfect game, would Varitek be the majors' least valuable catcher?

Catching a no-hitter once can be attributed to good luck, but catching a no-hitter four times is a testament to skill.

Catching a no-hitter once can be attributed to good luck, but catching a no-hitter four times is a testament super-duper good luck.


Jason Varitek is a true model for a catcher doing his homework. Before every game Varitek can be found with his head buried in the scouting reports of the opposing team’s hitters. He not only knows what every hitter is trying to do in any given at bat, he also knows the hitter’s strengths and weaknesses.

No other catcher in baseball does this. None. None of them have the guts, the heart, the will, the captain power of Jason "screw Johnny Bench" Varitek to actually study the hitters they are going up against, which is also known as doing their job.

Baseball protocol dictates that the catcher runs to the mound to congratulate the pitcher after an achievement like a no-hitter. In Jason Varitek’s case it should be the pitcher running to congratulate the catcher.

But he would never do that because he doesn't want the spotlight! Varitek plays the game the right way, takes it one play at a time, does his homework, cliche cliche cliche cliche cliche.

For the record, catchers I would take right now over Varitek:
Either (non-Jose) Molina brother
every catcher with the last name beginning with M

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