Sources: Sox's deadline doesn't exist

The Friday morning deadline for Jason Varitek to accept the Boston Red Sox's "final" contract offer doesn't actually exist, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

The Red Sox have told Varitek's agent, Scott Boras, they wanted an answer Friday to their one-year, $5 million offer, which could also contain an option for 2010.

But the source referred to the 8:30 a.m. deadline -- which has been characterized of late as being 8:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time; Boras' headquarters are in California -- as being "kind of a media creation."

So the wait for Varitek to respond goes on, with no assurance the Red Sox will even get the answer they've asked for by the end of the day.

The Red Sox are trying to resolve their catching situation before pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 12. They signed backup Josh Bard this offseason but reportedly will pursue a trade if Varitek does not return for his 13th season with the team.

Since Varitek declined the Red Sox's offer to go to arbitration, his desirability to other clubs decreased because the offer of arbitration requires a club to give up a draft choice if it signs the catcher.

Senior writer Jayson Stark covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.