OK, that’s enough.
Yesterday, I put together my Red Sox All-Disabled Team, which included the recently-injured Victor Martinez and the just-disabled Manny Delcarmen.
And two hours or so after posting that, it came to my attention that Jason Varitek has joined Dustin Pedroia in the “broken foot” club and will be missing for 4-6 weeks.
Now, losing your backup catcher is not good. Losing him three days after your starting catcher goes down is worse. And thanks to injuries to Pawtucket’s two catchers, Dusty Brown and Mark Wagner, the Sox’ catching corps is down to Gustavo Molina (insert not related to the other Catching Molinas joke here) and Kevin Cash, re-acquired from the Houston Astros for little-used shortstop Angel Sanchez.
Cash was the third catcher in 2007 and spent 2008 as Tim Wakefield’s personal catcher, and I realized quickly that I could not remember a single at-bat during his tenure in Boston. I have a fuzzy image of him being part of the pigpile after they closed out the Rockies in the ’07 World Series, and that’s about it. Of course, it was pointed out to me that his average during his Boston era was a robust .207 (and .188 for his career).
What’s really disturbing, though, is Varitek’s ability, through no fault of his own, to essentially be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. He’s never necessarily the worst injury, but he’s always the last, the final nail in the coffin.
Let’s revisit 2001, a year so bad that I almost stopped being a Red Sox fan. I can handle losing, mind you, but I can’t handle a team so loaded with clubhouse cancers and bad dudes. Take into account that those Sox had Carl Everett (spit at Jamie Moyer, headbutted an ump, called out manager Jimy Williams, hated dinosaurs, etc.), Dante Bichette (complained about losing his DH job in Spring Training even after admitting he wasn’t trying), Jose Offerman (later tried to maim a player in Central America with a bat), Mike Lansing (by all accounts, a douche), Shea Hillenbrand (pick your favorite here), and Ugie Urbina (now in prison for trying to kill five people with a machete).
Now, factor in that the Sox got about 20 games each from John Valentin and Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez was essentially done by June, and Bret Saberhagen was also finished as a major leaguer. When Varitek broke his elbow making a sliding catch that summer, it was the beginning of the end. All that was left was to fire the manager and embarrass New England.
And then there’s 2006, which saw the Sox without Coco Crisp, Trot Nixon, Manny Ramirez, Alex Gonzalez, Matt Clement and David Wells by the time Varitek suffered a knee injury blocking the plate against the Angels’ Mike Napoli. A trade for Javy Lopez, by then well over the hill, did not help the issue, no matter how much some columnists thought otherwise.
So, here we are, with a team decidedly better than in either 2001 or 2006, dealing with a rash of injuries where Varitek is essentially the cherry on the top. A cherry with a cast on its foot, anyway. Perhaps the third time’s the charm?