Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek will announce his retirement this Thursday from baseball in Fort Meyers Florida.
In 1997, Varitek was a young catcher (selected in the first round by the Mariners) playing for Mariners AAA affiliate Tacoma Rainiers. At the MLB Trade Deadline, Mariners GM Woody Woodward dealt Varitek and a young Derek Lowe to the Boston Red Sox for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb who had a 5.79 ERA at the time.
The Seattle Mariners were in first place and were desperate for relief pitching. They also dealt former first round pick (third overall) Jose Cruz to the Toronto Blue Jays for relievers Mike Timlin and Paul Spoljaric on the same day. This deal makes the Varitek trade even more curious.
Jason Varitek, 39, played 15 seasons with the Red Sox. He ranks first all time for a Boston Red Sox catcher in games (1,546), hits (1,307), runs (664), HR (193) & RBI (757). Varitek was named captain in 2004 and has caught a record 4 no-hitters. Varitek also has 2 World Series rings and was an all-star 3 times. He has also won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger.
Entering his sixteenth season, Derek Lowe is currently playing for the Atlanta Braves. Lowe was groomed to be a reliever after the trade to the Red Sox. He saved 42 games in 2000. Lowe later transitioned to become a starter. He made 2 all-star teams and pitched a no hitter in 2005. Lowe has won 166 games and recorded 85 saves and is still going strong.
Heathcliff Slocumb pitched two forgettable seasons for the Mariners before being granted free agency. He was out of baseball after the 2000 season. He played for eight teams in ten years.
Looking back on the trade, Mariners catcher Dan Wilson was coming into his own and Varitek had trade value. Mariners GM, Woody Woodward could of probably dealt Varitek straight up for Slocumb and the Mariners obviously still would of came out losers in this deal. Adding Derek Lowe into an already lopsided trade is unforgivable. This trade goes down as one of the most lopsided trades of all time.