One of the toughest choices the Sox are gonna make this offseason concerns the Captain himself, Jason Varitek. The tough guy with the Pee Wee Herman voice, Tek is one of the pillars of the franchise; the soul to Wake and Papi’s heart, if you will. That photo of him shoving A-Rod became the goddam mission statement of the 2004 Sox, but his recent haplessness with bat in hand has made him one of the most glaring holes in the line-up. Theo understands the gravity of the situation.

Jason Varitek is a free agent and will be one of the big concerns this winter. The 36-year-old captain struggled offensively in 2008, but he — and agent Scott Boras — will likely want a long-term deal in the 3-4 year range.

“He’s an important part of the organization, there’s no doubt about that,” said Epstein. “Obviously he’s coming off a year that wasn’t his best, but he’s important nonetheless. We’ll be talking to him, but we have an obligation to explore all our options. But we’ll certainly be talking with him.”

I’m guessing that if Boras wants 3-4 years, the “talking” Theo’s referenced will go something like this: “Uh, no thanks.”

What say you?