The Red Sox announced they have come to terms with former Rays,Indians and Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach on a one-year deal. He will most likely backup Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and his presence means one thing: Jason Varitek's time in Boston is most likely over.
Shoppach didn't hit much for the Rays last season, but he did throw out 41% of all the base runners attempting to steal in 2011. (Wouldn't be nice to actually see some opposition guys thrown out at second next season?)
This surely means the road has ended for Tek. And I really hope he doesn't do what many past-their-prime athletes have done: hang on for one more year with another team after spending a successful career with just one. Think of when Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas and Dwight Evans limping to end of the line with another club instead of the one they should be remembered for.
I really hope Tek calls it a career, and begins his next one as a coach or manager. I remember Peter Gammons once saying he would definitely be managing an MLB team one day, and I tend to agree with him. Tek will be 40 in April, and it's really time he step away.
I can only thank him for being One of the 25, and his contributions to the Red Sox will live forever. I hope the Captain uses some sense and walks away with his dignity in tact, and doesn't go somewhere else just to hang on and get a paycheck. He's better than that.
And Captain, thanks always for this lasting image:
It's the way I'll always remember you.