Varitek reportedly wants $55M from Boston

Updated: November 16, 2004, 11:25 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- If the Boston Red Sox want to keep Jason Varitek, they might have to give him a no-trade clause.

Jason Varitek
Boston Red Sox
137 18 73 67 10 .296

"We have discussed multiple times how important that being able to stay in one place is," the free-agent catcher said Tuesday. "This is your only shot to be able to do that."

After helping the Red Sox win the World Series last month, Varitek plans to meet with the team again this week. He reportedly has asked for a $55 million, five-year contract with a no-trade clause. He has two daughters, ages 3 and 4, and stressed that he wants a deal that will provide stability for his family.

"We're communicating pretty well at this point. I've even been on phone conversations, so we're going to continue to do that," said Varitek, a first-time free agent. "There's a lot of things that'll be involved that aren't going to be just numbers."

The Red Sox generally try to avoid long-term contracts and no-trade clauses. If any player is given a clause requiring his approval for a trade, some other Boston players, including Manny Ramirez, would get that guarantee, too, under terms of their existing deals.

Varitek spoke Tuesday before being honored along with New England Patriots guard Joe Andruzzi for their work on behalf of Children's Hospital Boston. The catcher said such community work will be one factor in his decision.

The 32-year-old Varitek refused to discuss other details about what he wants, and declined to say whether he's adamant about a five-year deal, the preferred length mentioned publicly by his agent, Scott Boras.

"It's part of a process," Varitek said. "We have to allow ourselves the ability to benefit from things that I've been able to create with my body and my durability over the years."

He also didn't discuss the extent of interest he's sparked from other teams.

"That's Scott's job to do that and filter and bring things to me when the time is right," Varitek said. "Scott's worked for me for years and he knows that (when) it comes down to the end that my wife and I and my family are going to make the decision."

Varitek, obtained in a 1997 trade with Seattle, batted .296 with 18 homers and 73 RBI last season. His career average is .271 with 97 homers and 418 RBI.

He is the best of a mediocre crop of free-agent catchers and has been praised by several Red Sox pitchers.

The Red Sox have a major league-high 16 free agents, including pitchers Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe, and shortstop Orlando Cabrera. Martinez met Tuesday in Tampa, Fla., with New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

"I haven't talked to Petey personally yet, but I'm sure we'll be in communication at some point," Varitek said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press