02/06/2009 2:54 PM ET
Red Sox sign free agent C Jason Varitek to one-year contract
BOSTON, MA - The Boston Red Sox today announced that the team has signed free agent catcher Jason Varitek to a one-year contract for the 2009 season with dual club and player options for 2010. No further terms were disclosed.
To make room for Varitek on Boston's 40-man roster, first baseman/outfielder Jeff Bailey was outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket. He elected for free agency and then re-signed with the club to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training.
The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.
Varitek batted .220 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 131 games for the Red Sox in 2008. He was named a reserve to the American League All-Star team, his third career selection.
The 36-year-old made 120 starts behind the plate, logging a .996 fielding percentage, second among qualifying A.L. catchers behind Minnesota's Joe Mauer (.997). He also ranked third among A.L. backstops in total chances (949) and catchers ERA (3.66) and tied for third in games.
The switch hitter has produced 10 or more home runs in nine of his last 10 major league campaigns beginning in 1999, tied with Carlton Fisk for the most double-digit homer seasons ever by a Red Sox catcher. He belted his 158th career home run while catching on September 15, 2008 at Tampa Bay, passing Fisk for the club's all-time lead in that category.
A member of the Red Sox organization since a July 31, 1997 trade from the Seattle Mariners, Varitek is the club's all-time leader with 1,273 games caught. The 2005 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner is one of 44 players in major league history to catch at least 1,000 games for a single franchise, and one of only eight backstops to do so while spending his entire playing career with that club. He is the only catcher in major league history to catch four no-hitters during his career, including Jon Lester's against Kansas City on May 19, 2008.
He was named the 18th full-time captain in Red Sox history on December 24, 2004 and has compiled a .263 batting average, 161 home runs and 654 RBI in 1,330 career games with Boston. He ranks among the club's all-time leaders in games (11th), doubles (T11th, 266), home runs (15th), walks (17th, 529) and RBI (17th). The two-time World Series Champion is a veteran of a club-record 63 post-season games. He is tied for second in team history with 11 playoff homers and ranks third with 33 RBI.