Two things will happen at the end of the season: Jorge Posada will retire (he’ll be 40 by then), and the Yankees will find another aging star of theirs to quietly move into the DH spot. My money would have been on Derek Jeter, but he can’t hit anymore, and he’s basically just playing for his 3,000th hit and maybe one more title. Maybe they’ll have to find some one to hit FOR the lifetime .313 hitting shortstop.
Posada wanted out of the Yankees’ lineup last night against the Red Sox because he was going to hit ninth. Not his finest moment as a Yankee, but not the end of the world either. There isn’t one major leaguer with the respect and legacy Posada has earned that wouldn’t be pissed off about hitting ninth. Not simply pissed at the manager, mind you, but most likely at himself too. This is his first year as a full-time DH, after all, and he’s hitting .165 when hitting is his only job. Hell even Jeter is a hundred points higher than that, and he’s still creaking around out there at shortstop.
Posada even told manager Joe Girardi that he needed a night off to clear his head after sucking for the first month and a half. Some one might have to inform the New York press and ESPN that he’s not the first veteran to need a minute to cope with the idea that this “slump” might just be the end of his career. And for a guy who’s been the Yankees’ full-time catcher since 1998, that’s a lot to deal with.
And the press is why I’m writing about this in the first place. Posada’s post-game comments to the press are the only reason this is an issue at all. The catcher mentioned that his back was acting up and he felt upset at the club for moving him down. Except he said none of that to Girardi. So you can imagine the local press sprinting over to Girardi for comment and not hearing the same story followed by frantic phone calls to their editors and cursing that their iphones didn’t make it easier to type.
Two questions are begged by this: why was Posada expected to tell the manager every little detail of why he wanted to sit when clearing his head was a perfectly legitimate reason? And why are we searching for controversy here when the real story is the end of the career of another long-time Yankee who heavily contributed to four World Series championships and two more World Series appearances?
The answer to the first isn’t that interesting since Posada just messed up and spoke his mind to the wrong person. He should have lied to the press about needing to clear his head and told Girardi that his back hurt. Either way, he gets out of the lineup, so who cares what he said? It’s obvious the Yankees aren’t going to punish him for any of this, so since the people who work and interact with Posada every day don’t really care, it’s time we asked ourselves why we care too.
The end for Posada has been coming for a couple of years now. He’s been catching less and less over the last couple of years. He’s been dogged by those “when it’s all over…” questions for at least two years, maybe more. We all could see it coming. He’s a catcher; those guys always lose it quicker than everyone else. Jason Varitek is a year younger than Posada, and I’m pretty sure he’s been dead since 2009.
So a catcher with declining numbers in a deep slump really deserves retrospectives and love from the fans and team-related media outlets, not some lame “controversy” about who said what to the manager. We also know Posada is still good enough that his numbers will climb slightly, and he’ll get his farewell tour around the league before hanging it up. Let’s just do that instead of talking about this anymore. Give a borderline Hall of Fame catcher a nice goodbye and then talk about his titles and reputation with misty eyes. Then eviscerate him when he comes back as a manager for another franchise. It’s the New York way.