Jorge Posada: Sentimental Favorite, But That's About It
What are the Yankees going to do about Jorge Posada? This is a question that concerns me because I love Jorge, and I would love to see him close out his career in the Bronx.
But I'm baffled at the idea that people think that somehow this is a tough baseball decision. It isn't, it's a question of sentiment.
Let's keep the argument simple: Jorge just turned 40 and has no future as a Yankee catcher.
At this point, he probably has a better chance of making the roster as a reserve second baseman. He's batted .244 this year with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs, with a .323 on-base average — not terrible but not likely to improve next year.
In a thoughtful piece for Grantland earlier this week, Jonah Keri wrote,
Posada's continued presence in the lineup blocks Jesus Montero, the latest gem from the Yankees farm system and the best hitting prospect in the organization. Why play the struggling old man (.241/.321/.386), when the kid seems ready to rake?
The Montero legend took a huge step forward Monday night. Playing the remainder of a suspended game plus a full game in what amounted to a virtual doubleheader, the 21-year old slugger exploded, going 5-for-6, blasting two homers, and knocking in seven runs. After a slow start, Montero's up to .290/.349/.456 for the year. Although skeptics wonder whether he can handle the defensive rigors of catching in the big leagues, most believe he'll be a great hitter. So why keep trotting out Posada when Montero would seem to be a better option? It might well be a matter of politics.
Yes, frankly, if you're like me, you get a little sick of talking baseball politics as playoff time nears. Here's what I want to see coming down the pike: I want to see the Yankees with Russell Martin catching and Jesus Montero given a shot at DH. This guy looks to me to be a can't-miss prospect as a hitter. That after two years of drilling him in the system the Yankees still have doubts about his defensive ability gives me pause — I'm thinking already that Montero has a career as a left fielder in his future.
However the Yankees do it, though, they're in an ideal situation, whether they understand it or not. Martin has been the invisible man on the Yankees this season, hitting .243 with 17 home runs and 59 RBIs. These are not only numbers that were unanticipated by the Yankees last winter, they are better numbers than Francisco Cervelli is going to put up in two seasons.
I like Martin. He's a tough catcher, blocks the plate well, and has a credible .268 career BA. This is the fourth season he's been in double figures in home runs, and his career OBA, .360, is not only great for a catcher but is higher than that of several Yankee regulars. Martin not only adds a touch out to a position that has been lacking in good hitting, he also offers a golden opportunity to break Montero into the lineup without pressure.
Let's see what happens with Martin behind the plate and Montero DH-ing. And let's stop asking how Jorge is going to react to this. I promise you that in two seasons he's going to be on the broadcast team anyway, and things will be just fine.
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