After the Red Sox declined to offer him arbitration earlier in the off-season, it seemed a very real possibility that Varitek, having spent his entire Major League career in Boston, could end up finishing it elsewhere. The Dodgers in particular were rumored to be interested, but now it's clear that "The Captain" will return for at least one more campaign.
At 38-years-old, Varitek will likely resume his role as the Red Sox' backup catcher for 2011. Though limited to just 39 games last season due to injury, he did manage to hit .232/.292/.473, with an OPS over 1.000 as late as June 1.
The question now becomes whether or not this signing affirms Jarrod Saltalamacchia's position as the starting catcher. Without Varitek on the roster, it was a possibility that Saltalamacchia would be given backup duties with a more reliable starter being brought on board via free agency or a trade. Now, with it being highly unlikely that the Red Sox would start the season with three catchers on their roster, Salty seems to either be the starter, or the odd-man out.
The situation is complicated by the fact that Saltalamacchia would have to pass through waivers to be assigned to Pawtucket. While the Sox would have a chance to pull him back if a team claimed him, it's unlikely they'll be able to sneak him through.