With Jason Varitek close to announcing his retirement, former Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette, in an interview on the Mut & Merloni show, reflected on the trade he made in 1997 to bring Varitek and Derek Lowe to the Red Sox in exchange for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb. It was a landmark trade that had implications for the Sox over the entirety of Varitek's 15-year tenure with the Sox.
"You'd like to make one of those every year, but they don't come along every day. I'm just glad we got the opportunity to see those guys during the great years of their career," said Duquette. "Jason had a great career. He really solidified the team for over a decade. He was one of the few guys, he was the captain of the team, but he really earned that captaincy by the way he handled himself on the field, the leadership that he undertook.
"Whenever we went into Yankee Stadium, he always got a big hit," added Duquette. "He was a clutch player. Obviously, staying healthy and catching the most games in Red Sox history, then being there when they actually won, that's got to be a great thrill and honor for him."
Duquette suggested that the fit for Varitek in Boston was perfect. The Sox had targeted the addition of a catcher since the team did not view Mike Stanley (the primary catcher in 1997, but who would be moved that summer in a deal with the Yankees for prospect Tony Armas Jr., who was in turn flipped to the Expos after that season for Pedro Martinez) as a long-term option. At the time of the deal, Duquette felt Varitek had potential to develop beyond what the Mariners had seen.
"I think frankly (the Mariners) tried to rush him and they didn't get a chance to see all his skill and capability. That was a great opportunity for us at the time," said Duquette. "Everyone saw Jason Varitek at Georgia Tech. I personally saw him in the Cape Cod League when he played against Nomar. ... I was aware of what his skills were. We had the perfect opportunity, and he went on to become one of the great catchers in the history of the team."
As for Lowe, Duquette knew less about the pitcher. Indeed, the GM did not deny the pitcher's claim to WEEI.com that he believed that Lowe was left-handed at the time of the deal.
"Did you think we were focused more on Varitek or Derek Lowe? What do you think?" said Duquette. "I knew Derek was a sinkerballer, but I didn't know as much about Derek as I did about Jason. Gary Rajisch was big on Derek Lowe, and it was good we got both those guys."
Asked whether he pursued Varitek to serve as a backup catcher to Matt Wieters this offseason, Duquette said he did not.
"I thought that Jason had the opportunity to spend his whole career there with the Red Sox," he said. "If they didn't have a spot there for him, I thought it was the right thing for him to do, to choose retirement."
Duquette was also asked whether he considered pursuing another player whom he acquired while GM of the Red Sox, Manny Ramirez.
"I thought since I was so generous with Manny last time around, he should have paid me this time around. He didn’t quite see it that way," Duquette joked. "Manny can hit. I think he got the second chance he was looking for. I think he’ll do well. We just didn’t see a fit here in Baltimore."
Christian and Chris talk about overrated Pats players this season and in the past and then get into the QB issue on the team. They talk about all three guys, what they bring to the table and if they can keep their head above water without the best QB in the league for 4 weeks. Then...Karlos Williams was released by the Bills - should the Pats consider adding the overweight second year running back? Christian also brings up Dante Scarnecchia and gets Price's opinion on if this one man can truly improve a shaky offensive line.
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Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy
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DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
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Gerry, Kirk, and Mut take NY Giants coach Ben McAdoo and SI writer Peter King to task for not addressing the Josh Brown domestic violence story.
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Sam Kennedy of the Red Sox calls in to talk to the guys about the proposed renovations at Fenway Park and if Jonathan Papelbon will ever sign.
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Kirk Minihane and Gary Tanguay sit down together on Enough About Me for the first time. These two divisive figures talk about Gary's career and his late evolution into a controversial broadcaster. Nobody is spared from Kirk and Gary's wrath on this episode and it will surely make some people at the two sports radio stations very uncomfortable.
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Week two of the Preseason is underway so Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson of the “Fantasy Football Hour” to offer some mid-August updates and opinion. In today’s show Jim and Pete offer analysis from the Thursday Night Patriots game and discuss LeGarrette Blount and the Patriots Running Attack in depth. Jim and Pete key on some recent news surrounding lots of players including Seattle’s and Chicago’s backfield, then get into the incredibly deep Wide Receiver position. Make sure to tune in for more on Sunday morning at 8:00am for “The Fantasy Football Hour.” Enjoy!
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