Jason Varitek of the Boston Red Sox walks in from the outfield after throwing before the start of the Red Sox game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Let's open with a reminder about just how close to real baseball we are:
Lester is referring to the new spring training complex of the Red Sox, JetBlue Park. While pitchers and catchers aren't required to be there yet, Lester is already working out in Florida. We're so close, everyone.
Jason Varitek was extended an invitation to spring training by the Red Sox, but with Kelly Shoppach signed and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in tow once more, it's unlikely Varitek will get a job even if he shows up to try. Rob Neyer wrote about this today over at Baseball Nation, in reference to Varitek's legacy, a word that came up via Nick Cafardo:
It's hard to imagine a more personal choice than that between playing for another season -- plying one's chosen trade, and being well compensated for it -- and locking up one's legacy. However hard that last might be to define.
Are people really going to remember or care if Varitek spends a few months wearing a Twins uniform? Cafardo references Dwight Evans (disapprovingly) and Jorge Posada (approvingly); Evans finished his career with one season in Baltimore after 19 in Boston, while Posada called it quits this winter when the Yankees didn't want him.
We've all been Varitek fans here, but we've also all just about had enough of him at this point, given he'll be 40 years old. Neyer asks if Red Sox fans will feel different about Varitek if he signs elsewhere if given the opportunity; well, would you?
Also at Baseball Nation, I wrote about the back end of the Red Sox rotation, and the options they have to work with at present. It's likely nothing you haven't read from me here before (this is a Red Sox blog, after all), but rather than spread out piecemeal across three months, it's all there in 1,100 words.
Ben Buchanan asked earlier today if the Red Sox should kick the tires on Homer Bailey, since the Reds are reportedly interested in Roy Oswalt. If he's available, you can certainly count on me voting "Yes" on that one. The problem is, according to Reds' beat writer John Fay, who spoke to Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty about the Oswalt rumors:
"It's all rumors," he said. "I'm sick and tired of it. We've had no serious talks. We've had no contact with the player."
General managers say a lot of things, either for negotiating purposes, or to keep their fan base's optimism at the appropriate level -- you don't want to promise your fans Roy Oswalt if you aren't guaranteed to get him. But this seems, given Jockett's forceful denial and disgust with the rumors, that the Reds might legitimately be out on Oswalt. Or were never in on him to begin with, as it were.
Of course, that's also good news for Boston. They might not expect to be in on Oswalt anymore, but if he legitimately has nowhere else to go -- remember, the Rangers and Cardinals still don't have room for him -- then hey, default victory! Buster Olney thinks it's a possibility, still -- in fact, the "most seamless track" for Oswalt, even.