The Boston Red Sox and Captain Jason Varitek agreed Friday on a contract.
General Manager Theo Epstein and Varitek spoke directly via telephone late Thursday night to help bridge the gap between the player and team. Sox officials then finalized the deal with agent Scott Boras this morning and early afternoon, just beyond an 8:30 a.m. deadline the team had established before Varitek and Epstein spoke.
The deal is for one year at $5 million, with the club holding a $5 million option for 2010. Varitek has the choice of remaining with the club for whom he has played his entire career at $3 million only if the Red Sox choose not to pick up that option. The incentives ensure Varitek that he will be paid a salary more commensurate with a starting player should the Sox still need him to fill that role beyond 2009.
Per team policy, although the aggreemetn was reached, the Sox did not formally announce the deal because the agreement is contingent upon Varitek passing a physical exam next week.
A three-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner in 2005, Varitek endured a forgettable season at the plate last year, batting a career- low .220 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 131 games. He also appeared in 1,330 career games, compiling a .263 average with 161 homers and 654 RBI.