Between Lynn Henning suggesting him Tuesday morning and Ken Rosenthal reporting this morning that Scott Boras is trying to sell him to the Tigers, I wanted to look at Jason Varitek and why this would be a bad deal for the Tigers.
First and foremost, his production has declined in recent years. Here are his BA/OBP/SLG splits since 2005.
2005: .281/.366/.489 (529 PA)
2006: .238/.325/.400 (416 PA)
2007: .255/.361/.421 (518 PA)
2008: .220/.313/.359 (483 PA)
For the time being, I am willing to throw out his 2006 season because he was suffering from a bad knee that year, and he has had surgery to correct that. There isn't, however, anything to justify the poor season he had in 2008 aside from the fact that he was 36 years old during the season. It seems likely that he has lost his skills, and he's not worthy of a starting job, especially when he is only throwing out 22% of baserunners.
Since we have established that Varitek is likely in the decline phase of his career, some would still suggest that coming in and platooning with Dusty Ryan be okay. I'm just curious how this particular platoon would work. Somebody's got to face right-handed pitchers. Via minorleaguesplits.com, lets take a look at Dusty Ryan's career R/L splits.
Vs. L: .274/.363/.485
Vs. R: .218/.301/.347
It would seem to me that if he was going to have a platoon partner, that guy should be able to produce against right-handed pitching, as Ryan seems to have the southpaws covered. What about Varitek?
vs. L (2008): .284/.378/.484
vs. R (2008): .201/.293/.323
vs. L: .284/.362/.468
vs. R: .254/.340/.427
Again, better against lefties, and downright putrid in 2008 against right-handed pitchers. A platoon with Varitek and Ryan would not work. Throw in the money and the draft pick the Tigers would have to give up for Varitek if signed before the arbitration deadline, and there really is no choice but to say no way.