There is no disputing that an aging Jason Varitek is a concern for the Red Sox's organization. They are asking themselves, "How can we buy youth without trading experience? How can we maintain a perfect balance between the youngsters, like Jacoby and Lowrie, and veterans such as, Lowell, Wakefield and Varitek? How do we put together a winning team and raise another flag on Yawkey Way?"
Theo Epstein knows every decision has a consequence. Determining what decision will be made at this time will determine success or failure. He also knows it IS crucial for the Red Sox to maintain a perfect balance of youth and experience. At this point, there must be an excellent action plan for each position on the field. The backstop position is no exception.
Let’s ask ourselves what Theo’s action plan could look like. Let’s look for what has often been referred to as the “computer” behind the plate! Jason Varitek.
Step One: Purchase Catcher (PC). Determine requirements. Catcher must be respected among peers and a good fit for the Red Sox clubhouse. Bring in a good strong offensive bat and be willing to share the load with one of the most respected catchers in Red Sox history.
Solution: While with the Sox in 2006, Josh Bard earned respect in the clubhouse and with team manager Terry Francona. After trade in 2006, Josh Bard hit .338 with nine homers in 231 at-bats. The following year the switch-hitter posted a .285 average with five homers and 51 RBI. Theo has said, “Let’s right this wrong”. Sign catcher, Josh Bard. Check.
Step Two: Renew Support Contract. Re-sign Jason Varitek. For time served and respect he has achieve in Boston. Give Captain Varitek a two-year contract for $10 million plus one-year option. Guarantee the Captain will start 60 percent of all games. Added Note: Consider amending contract to state a possible option for a coaching position within the Red Sox organization.
Solution: It is no secret that Jason Varitek wants to retire with the Red Sox. The respect he has earned in Boston is like no other. The Captain has never failed to stay the course and unfortunately this year the storms blew the ship around a bit. He will make the adjustments needed. He will not disappoint us. He will re-sign.
Step Three: Computer Download. To achieve download, Josh Bard must start at least 40 percent of all games. Varitek needs to be able to guide and teach his young apprentice, focusing on his great defense and his preparation for each game.
Solution: During Computer download phase cohesiveness must come and the willingness to learn from the team Captain. Preparation, patience and attention to winning are a must.
Step Four: Balance. The fourth step includes the coaching staff and players. Francona must always consider for all positions, how to keep them all healthy throughout 130+ games in a season. Keeping the young rooster challenged by increasing playing time AND he must keep the older rooster rested and healthy.
This perfect balance is the key to a winning team. When everyone plays their part 100 percent, we will once again be able to hang a championship banner on Yawkey Way.
Solution: Only time will tell.
I know everyone in Red Sox Nation has their own action plan for the Red Sox. We all have very unique approaches to America’s favorite pastime. Hopefully, sometime soon, we will see if my hypothetical “Boston Backstop Action Plan” will come true.
Happy New Year Red Sox Nation!
The first exhibition game with Boston College starts Feb. 25 in Fort Myers, FL. GO SOX!!!