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Boras refutes report of offer to Varitek

Boras refutes report of offer to Varitek

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BOSTON -- If the Red Sox did offer free agent catcher Jason Varitek a one-year contract, as Web site WEEI.com reported on Monday morning, it is news to agent Scott Boras.

Boras, who has represented Varitek for his entire pro career, told the Boston Globe on Monday that he knows nothing of a one-year contract offered by the Red Sox to Varitek.

In addition, Boras told The Boston Globe and Boston Herald that negotiations between Varitek and the Red Sox haven't even started.

"I've had no financial discussions with [Red Sox general manager] Theo [Epstein] regarding Jason Varitek," Boras told the Herald.

The Red Sox have a blanket policy of not commenting on the status of negotiations with any free agents.

Initial efforts by MLB.com to reach Boras were unsuccessful.

WEEI.com, the Web site for the Red Sox's flagship radio station, cited "sources" in reporting that the one-year offer to Varitek wasn't in the same range as the $13.1 million per season that catcher Jorge Posada got from the Yankees last offseason.

Boras has said numerous times that he believes there will be a significant market for Varitek this winter.

"Obviously, there are teams that are looking at a catcher that can win 60 percent of your games. There are teams interested [in Varitek]," Boras told the Boston Globe last week.

Varitek, acquired by the Red Sox on July 31, 1997, has been the team's starting catcher for the last 10 seasons. Prior to the 2005 season, the Red Sox made Varitek their first captain since Jim Rice's retirement in 1989.

While speaking to reporters at the General Managers Meetings in Dana Point, Calif., earlier this month, Boras said that his client is worthy of a deal comparable to the four-year, $52.4 million pact Posada signed less than a year ago.

Varitek, who will turn 37 in the first month of the 2009 season, is coming off a career-worst season offensively, in which he hit .220 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs.

But Varitek, even when he is not hitting, brings more to the table. He is a leader of the pitching staff and still very effective on defense.

Epstein has noted as much.

"We need to get the catching situation right," Epstein said in late October. "Jason's an important guy here, and we'll sit down and explore if there's a way for him to come back that will help be a positive solution for our catching situation. If there is, I'm sure he'll end up coming back. If there are obstacles we can't overcome, sometimes that's beyond our control. It's an important one. He brings a lot to the table here, despite not having one of his most productive years. We'll sit down and talk about it."

One scenario the Red Sox are said to favor is one in which Varitek comes back, but doesn't play quite as much as he has in past years. Ideally, the Red Sox would be able to acquire a young catcher this offseason, one who could perhaps thrive under the tutelage of Varitek.

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Fellow free agent Curt Schilling thinks that situation could be good for both Varitek and the Sox.

"I talked to Tek very briefly over the last couple of days, and I think that he understands he's at that point of his career where he's not going to catch 135 games," Schilling said last week. "I'm not sure he's mad about that. It's a great situation, if you can work it out, where he spends the next two years here at a minimum and brings along the kid you want to fill that role. I think they're out trying to find that kid right now. They're kind of running parallel, talking to Tek and trying to make that move [for a younger catcher]. I don't know that, but that's what I would guess."

Four years ago, when Varitek was a free agent, he wound up re-signing with the Red Sox on Christmas Eve.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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