Because Varitek has had more than his fair share of injuries (elbow, foot, knee, etc.), many would assume that his professional career is basically over.
Many were already writing Varitek off last season when the Red Sox brought in Victor Martinez, citing that Varitek was getting too old and too expensive to keep on. Varitek stayed this season, but has only caught 35 games as the Boston backstop before joining the ranks of the fallen, breaking his foot on June 30.
Now that he's returned from his injury, Varitek insists he's better than ever and ready to continue for at least another year. But what do you think about the aging captain? In your opinion, what do you think is the next step in Varitek's future?
Should the Red Sox keep him on for another few years? Varitek has been a mainstay for this ballclub since 1998. He became the team's anchor during their World Series runs, earning the captain's 'C' after the miraculous 2004 championship season. He's just the third Red Sox player since 1923 to earn that honor, joining the ranks of former captains Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice.
In the past week, Varitek has given several interviews where he insists he still has his best stuff, even going as far to say that he's better in some areas.
"[I'm] able to make some adjustments offensively," he said after Tuesday's loss to Tampa Bay. "I've probably thrown the ball as good or better than I ever have in my entire life. There's a lot of things, the things you take pride in, being able to block a ball, move, different things. So I think that at some level, I'm doing things better than I ever have."
It's obvious Varitek's mind is still sharp, as he's been regarded as one of the best catchers when it comes to analyzing and reading a pitcher's performance and a hitter's tenancies. But does he really still have it physically? Even if he's still strong behind the plate, he's definitely not as offensively solid as he once was.
If you believe he still has a future in the MLB, will it even be with the Red Sox? If he performs well for the rest of September, 'Tek could be a formidable trade option for a team looking for leadership of a young catcher, especially if he's packaged with the right prospect or two. Should the Red Sox explore that route with Varitek? They have the opportunity to keep Martinez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Whatever he may be saying now, the fact of the matter is he's nearing the end of his brilliant career. By choosing to go out now, he could retire as a Red Sox and go down as one of the greatest catchers in franchise history. You never know what another year of playing behind the plate could do to the captain.
What do you think the future holds for Varitek? Should he keep going, go somewhere else, or hang 'em up?
Share your thoughts below.
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