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."
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the start of Patriots OTAs and the rookies' first taste of the NFL.
We talk to the newest inductee to the Patriots Hall of Fame, linebacker Willie McGinest.
Price tells Greg about what is in store for football fans and Patriots fans beyond Deflategate. We will, after all, move on at some point.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Former teammate of Lou Merloni and current ESPN analyst Dallas Braden joins the guys to talk about doctoring the ball, cheating in baseball, and the struggling Red Sox.
Joe Castiglione talked to the Sox lefty, who allowed one run in eight innings as the Sox beat the Angels at Fenway.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox first baseman, who hit two homers at Fenway tonight in the win against the Angels.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
The guys discussed Boston 2024 with the Mayor of Boston.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed the Red Sox struggles.
In the Three For All, the guys talk about a $6000 Cat Apartment, the Houston Texans on Hard Knocks, and a recent study that says women are wearing less thongs. During the final topic, we get the privilege of hearing about Christian's "special" panties.
With a quarter of the baseball season in the books, the guys discuss five important questions surrounding the team.
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton discuss yet another loss at the hands of the Minnesota Twins, and how there may be no pulling out of this for the 2015 Red Sox.
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton discuss the return of Lebron James, this time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, to the NBA finals, and what this does for his growing legacy.
We wrap up the day with the best in sound that you may have missed.
Mikey Adams and Chris Villani discuss the disappointing 21-26 start of the Boston Red Sox and who is most to blame. Also, caller Steve from Fall River sets Villani off with his DeflateGate take.
The definitive deflate gate song
Mikey Adams is joined by Chris Villani as they take calls on the Friday night Two Minute Drill and discuss the ongoing DeflateGate saga with the New England Patriots and Roger Goodell's role in hearing the Tom Brady appeal.
Julian Edlow of the Green Street Blog and Draftkings.com joins the program to break down the the two conference finals series, the NBA Draft, and whether or not Corey Brewer is the ugliest player in the game?
Ben, Russ, and Alex recap the Revs loss to Sporting KC and discuss what the Revs need moving forward. Also discussed is the FFP and how it will affect the transfer window.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk discuss Dino's rehab experience.
El Prez of Barstool on Tom Brady.More from this show
Rob Parker joined the show to rip Tom Brady.More from this show
Rob Parker, of FanBuzz.com (formerly ESPN) wrote an open-letter to Tom Brady asking him to admit guilt, to apologize to Jim McNally and John Jastremski, and finally to ask for forgiveness from NFL fans. Parker joined the morning show to discuss his opinions. Lou, Christian and Tim broke down some of those comments.More from this show