Switching Varitek

Tony Massrotti talks to Jason Varitek about the possibility of ditching the switch and hitting only right-handed:

“Oh my goodness. Hell, no,” Varitek said this morning at the Red Sox’ spring training complex. “Have you ever all of a sudden tried to hit right-on-right when you haven’t done it in 15 years? . . . I’ve heard that offered a few different times whether [it was suggested] in the media or whatever, but it’s ludicrous.”

So there you have it.

He’s still switch-hitting.

A natural righthanded hitter, Varitek batted .284 from the right side last season as opposed to .201 from the left side. The discrepancy was easily the greatest of his 12-year career. The difference in OPS was even more astounding — .863 from the right side, .616 from the left — which led to the obvious suggestion that maybe it was time for him to hit solely from the right side.

Obvious, it seems, to everyone but him.

For the record, Varitek said the idea of hitting exclusively righthanded never has been discussed by him and team officials.

Yeah, having him bat righty against righthanders is probably a bad move. A much better one — also probably not discussed, at least in Varitek’s presence — is to treat him as a backup catcher/pinch hitter in which he only faces lefties.

But even that’s probably dumb. Though in recent years he has certainly tended to hit lefties better, last year was probably his most pronounced split. In some previous years he actually hit slightly better against righties, even doing so for several straight seasons when he was younger.

My guess is that what ails Jason Varitek is the sort of thing that can only be fixed with either severely limiting his playing time or via the purchase of a time machine, not by futzing with his switch hitting.

(Thanks to Zach Sanders for the heads up)

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Harkening back about the “Incentives” blog of a week ago Theo should have developed an incentive to plant the seed of change into his head.  Something along the lines of – we’ll pay you an addition $500,000 for every 100 at bats from the right side.  Better yet – can a disincentive be place in a contract?  For example – for every 0-0 day from the left side you return 1/2 of your pay for the day (not even attempting the math after Craig’s little fiasco last week).  I know the PA and Boras would never allow a disincentive clause… Read more »