August 2, 2021

Clearing The Bases

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Unless you have been living in a cave all week you have undoubtedly heard about the Yankees Jorge Posada’s decision to pull himself out of the lineup and refuse to play last Saturday versus Boston.  What you may not know are the details preceding this decision.

When Posada first came up with the Yankees he was the backup behind current Yankees manager Joe Girardi.  Posada’s offensive skills have always been apparent, but his defense has been questionable and manager Joe Torre was in no rush to instill Posada as the starter over Girardi.  This was the beginning of what has always been a frosty relationship between the two.  Fast forward to Posada becoming a free agent after the 2007 season.  General Manager Brian Cashman did not want to sign Posada to a contract for longer than two guaranteed seasons.  The reason being that Posada had surgery on his shoulder which had weakened his throwing and Posada’s defense was regressing even further, but management was afraid that the cross town rival New York Mets, who also needed a catcher, would swoop in and sign Posada to a big deal.  After last season, Cashman and Girardi sat down with Posada and told him he would not be the catcher for the Yankees this season, not as a starter or a backup, but that instead he would be the full-time DH, a role he has despised.

Posada hasn’t been able to accept that he is no longer the catcher of the Yankees, nor has he made the necessary adjustments to become a productive DH.  This all came to a head Saturday as he was moved down to ninth in the batting order.  At first Posada seemed to handle the demotion in stride, realizing someone who was batting .165 at the time really should just be happy he is in the lineup more or less complaining about where he is batting.  It seemed as time passed between the lineup being posted and game time, Posada became more and more angry and went into Girardi’s office and not only stated that he wouldn’t play that night but wanted off the team as well.  This was certainly bad timing as the Yankees were in the midst of a losing streak and playing the hated Red Sox on national TV.  This story instantly overshadowed the game as Posada committed the ultimate baseball sin, refusing to play.

Posada is a proud man and the move to DH and now the demotion in the batting order have just been eating at him for months.  It probably doesn’t help any that when he watches current Yankee catchers Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli, neither one has been lighting the world on fire defensively.  Cervelli led the MLB in errors last season, kind of pathetic when you realize he was just the backup catcher, and this season it seems to be a small miracle if either catcher can reach 2B on a fly when there is a stolen base attempt.  Posada surely feels he couldn’t do much worse.

Derek Jeter didn’t help things any with his comments saying that he supported Posada and didn’t see anything wrong about what had happened.  Perhaps this was Jeter’s way of trying to downplay what had happened, but a player refusing to play and help his teammates is a pretty big thing, and outside of not throwing a game or not trying your hardest is about a big a baseball sin as there can be.  Perhaps Jeter realizes that he could in the same situation in a few weeks/months or perhaps Jeter just can’t criticize the player who is his best friend on the team.  Either way the Yankee higher ups were not happy with the Yankee captain taking this stance and had a conference call with him to clear the air Monday.

This situation will all be resolved if the Yankees start playing better baseball, put up some Ws, and Posada starts to put up the offensive numbers he is capable of.  Lucky for him that right now there is no one else on the roster who is worthy of taking over the full-time DH role.  Perhaps the Yankees will call up top prospect Jesus Montero or Jorge Vazquez, but for now Posada will DH versus righties and hit the pine versus lefties.

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