Monday, June 7, 2010

Is Posada Done Behind The Plate?

Since he’s been back from the DL, Jorge Posada has been the Yankees primary DH, a role I thought he was slated to be back in the offseason. In fact, I thought the whole reason that the Yanks really declined to bring back Hideki Matsui was because they wanted to get Posada a few games a week at the DH spot, to keep him and his bat as fresh as possible for the late season and playoff run. Once they signed Nick Johnson, the plan seemed to go out the window. That signing was a strange one because it really didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. However, knowing Johnson as well as many baseball people do, it can’t come to a big surprise that he’s on the 60-Day DL and thus the spot is back open for Posada to play that role, despite the fact he’s not really too happy with it.

Posada’s defensive issues didn’t start with this year. He’s never been particually adept at blocking the plate or throwing out runners, but he hasn’t exactly been a disaster either. There have been pitchers who prefer to throw to other catchers, inlcuding the infamous situation in last year’s playoffs when it seemed AJ Burnett would rather throw to anyone BUT Posada. In the end, you cannot remove the fact that Posada’s bat has been fantastic for the Bronx Bombers though, and getting him out from behind the plate was not something that would be easy, but the fact is, he is 38 (and will be 39 In august) and his already shakey skill set behind the plate has declined. Even if it hadn’t though, his age alone is a huge reason to move him out from back there… just to ensure his bat can be in the lineup more.

Right now, the Yankees are better off with 24 year old Francisco Cervelli as their primary backstop and Posada in the DH role about 80% of the time. Despite Posada’s desire to catch, and Manager Joe Girardi’s reluctance to just name Cervelli as the everyday catcher going forward it’s fairly evident that the Yanks are best served with the 38 year old accepting his new role.

Posada is a five time all-star and a member of the famed “Core Four” still left from the Yankees huge run of championships from the late 90s into 2000. He deserves the teams and fans loyalty, but he also needs to see that the days of even catching 100 games (which he did last season) is past.

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