Jason Varitek and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms at last.
The contract is a one-year deal worth $5 million dollars with a team option for another year at $5 million or player option for $3 million with another $2 million in incentives available, according to the Boston Globe.
Management had reportedly given Varitek until 8:30 a.m. California time on Friday to accept their final offer. That deadline, however, was a "kind of a media creation," a source told ESPN.
The final deal isn't all that different from the Sox previous offer, a choice between a guaranteed one-year deal for $5 million or a one-year deal with a dual option, the latter of which contained a $5 million club option for 2010 or a $3 million player option.
In the event a deal can't get done, the Sox were prepared to take their chances in 2009 with Josh Bard and George Kottaras while they pursued possible deals for Jarrod Saltalamacchia of the Texas Rangers or Arizona Diamondback Miguel Montero.
Varitek, for his part, was said to be prepared to sit out the 2009 season. Varitek and his agent, the infamous Scott Boras, used the same ploy when he was first drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the '94 draft, going as far as signing a contract with the the St. Paul Saints in the independent Northern League. Convinced he was serious, Seattle met his contract demands.
The Sox were wary of committing to Varitek after he posted a .220/.313/.359 line over 483 plate appearances in 2008.
Some combination of ignorance, arrogance and bad counsel had landed Varitek in a precarious position.
The Sox had originally offered him arbitration, which would have likely ended with the veteran catcher signing a one-year, $10 million contract. But Varitek was seeking a two-year deal and so opted for free agency.
It wasn't until weeks later he realized that because of his status as a Class A free agent, any team that signed him would have to compensate the Sox with a first-round draft pick. Not surprisingly, the line of teams seeking to sign a 36-year-old catcher coming off the worst campaign of his career to a multi-year contract wasn't terribly long. In fact, it is hitherto nonexistent.
There's no question that Tek is second only to Hall-of-Famer Carlton Fisk among Red Sox catchers, and even Pudge might trade careers with him. In 12 seasons with the club, Varitek won two World Championships, went to three All Start Games, caught a Major League record four no-hitters and served as team captain for four years.