Fading Star

 

To watch any player day in and day out, it’s hard to fully appreciate their contribution to the team as the season progresses. As fans, we’re often more vocal for the player that’s not pulling their weight than we are for the players that are producing at or above expectations. For the past 16 years, Yankees’ fans have grown accustomed to and might I add spoiled, by the contributions of a certain player who wears a #2 on his back.

Last season was a dramatic downturn compared to career performance and everyone wondered what 2011 could hold. His age was getting up there. His position was very demanding and takes an obvious toll on his body. His better years were in the rear-view mirror. No, I’m not turning this into another Derek Jeter bash session because my sights are on another potential hall of famer, Jorge Posada. Naturally, as I write this, Jeter crushes two home runs, and raises his average over .275.

Seemingly lost in the shuffle of the Yankees’ relatively hot start is the lack of performance from Catcher turned DH, Jorge Posada. Posada’s contributions have been solely in the form of some early home runs, six in total, with an average sitting right around .150. Some site the switch to full time DH and his having to adjust to sitting on the bench when the team is in the field. Rarely has it been mentioned that he’s getting older
(he turns 40 this August) and might have lost some bat speed in the process.

Unlike Jeter, Posada’s current deal is up after the 2011 season and even if he finishes with some respectable numbers (say .250, 15-20HR, 65-70 RBI) it’s highly unlikely that the Yanks re-sign him. With Girardi and Tony Pena on the staff, they can mentor the young catching corps that is in the minors (Montero, Romine, Sanchez, et. al) so there’s not much need for Posada there.

Sadly, what gets lost in the need for production right here, right now, is Posada’s track record. He is a five time World Series Champion, a five time All-Star, and a 5 time Silver Slugger winner. It’s possible that Jorge will find his place in the Hall of Fame one day since his offensive production was stellar for his position – and would be in the discussion for top hitting catcher of his era along with Mike Piazza and former teammate, Ivan Rodriguez.

With the recent injury to Eric Chavez, the Yankees need Posada to start swinging a hot bat as the temperature heats up since the rest of the bench is very light, all respect to Andruw Jones but there are far too many righties for him to be playing daily.

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Dominic

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  • dayanks

    Posada was a horse for many years, he will be a hall of famer and will go down as one of the best catchers in his era. 5k times better than Mike "I lived on the Sauce" Piazza. He definitely carried the torch of other yankee greats!!!!!

  • http://yankeesfan96.wordpress.com/ Ryan Nakada

    I think that Posada will make the Hall of Fame because of how productive he was offensively as a catcher and as a switch hitter. I think Piazza was one of the greats as well, both are HoF candidates for sure.

    It's funny how critics jump on Jeter for being "done" and Posada is still effective because he's hitting home runs. I actually am concerned with Posada because home runs are not indicative of a hot bat in my opinion. Chavez could have relieved Posada of the DH position by taking some of the 3B duties off his hands but now that Chavez is hurt Posada needs to really fix things and be a consistent hitter, not just a occasional home run threat.

    Great article, really enjoyed it.

    • Dominic

      You are right Ryan. Posada is never mentioned for his struggles, nor any other Yankee for that matter. The target is on Jeter but when he (Jeter) performs to the level that he's capable of performing, the spotlight should shift to Posada, among others.

      Jorge's hot start has cooled off dramatically. He's hit one home run and has 6 RBI since April 15th. I'm not suggesting that Jorge takes all the blame for the team's offensive struggles since Swisher, Gardner, and Tex are all underperforming with A-Rod and Martin battling slumps but when Cashman was interviewed yesterday and he was asked about the team's struggles at the plate, there was not one mention of #20 and I found that odd.

      • http://yankeesfan96.wordpress.com/ Ryan Nakada

        Realistically, it SHOULD shift to Posada but I don't think it ever truly will. Posada may be the quietest professional on the team and that's why I don't think Posada will ever take the spotlight of blame.

        Whenever I remember Posada being in the spotlight for being really good or really bad, he answered in a way that you couldn't elaborate on anything or make something out of nothing.

        Even in the case of Jeter, he'll say "I'd rather talk about how the team is doing." The media can use that, they can't use what Posada would say.