Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time For Posada To Sit

This is Jorge Posada’s last year in a Yankee uniform as a player—there's no doubt of that. Someday he might make a nice coach, tutoring young catchers and using his stubborn fiery personality to put rookies through their paces. But as an everyday starter, he’s done.

Here in the beginning of May, Posada is batting .150. He has a miniscule .244 OBP and a 74 OPS+. And despite words from Girardi to the contrary, Posada is not looking better at the plate. Yes he did hit 2 meatballs from Justin Verlander, but once Verlander left the game, Posada struck out twice—once with men on 2nd and 3rd, the other time with runners on 1st and 3rd.

Right now the Yankees are in first and can cover Posada because the team as a whole is playing good ball. The Yankees team batting average is down, but their slugging percentage leads the AL and they have 9 more HRs than any other team in the AL. Over the long haul, however—once the season enters the dog days and the Red Sox come back and the Yankees are in a real pennant race, can the Yankees afford to hide Posada in their lineup?

And this is not new news. Posada batted .248 last year. After last year the Yankees brain trust decided to move Posada to full-time DH in an attempt to get him more rest and save his body so he could be fresher at the plate. That hasn’t worked.

Frankly, there is no masking the fact that Posada is 39 and has taken years of battering as a catcher. And the fact that it's taken its toll is self-evident in his play.

And it’s not the fact that he has to “adjust” to being a DH...please. That’s a load of bunk. And its not that he starts slow, ala Mark Teixeira, he doesn’t—over his career, Posada has hit more HRs in April than in any other month, and has batted .271 in April over his career (including this year).

Could this be an extended slump? Sure, anything is possible. But look at the hard facts. You have a 39-year-old catcher who moved to DH, after batting .248 the year before. And in 90 plate appearances over 23 games, said player is bating .150 and has easily had the worst start of his career.

Lucky for Jorge, Derek Jeter is struggling as well—and the Yankee poster boy has taken the attention off his awful start.

Still, when you look at the body of evidence, there's one conclusion. It’s time to sit Jorge Posada. It’s time to bring up Jesus Montero.

After last night’s AAA game, where he went 3 for 5, Montero is batting .373. He’s proven all he needs to down in AAA, t least hitting-wise. And coming up and filling the DH position, the pressure to catch and control a pitching staff is off his shoulders. He can concentrate on adjusting to major league pitching. And Girardi can work him in behind the plate in spot games and in low pressure situations to get him acclimated. But as stated before, the boy can hit and its time to bring him up.

Jorge Posada has 5 rings and has etched his name along the great Yankee catchers of Berra, Dickey and Howard. He has a puncher’s chance at the Hall of Fame. It’s been a great career. But now is the end his time as an everyday player. It’s time to sit Jorge.

No comments: