If you didn’t already hear, Jorge Posada is supposed to have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee today. I don’t have any idea what that means or how serious, but it sounds like he’ll be ready for the start of Spring Training, but not matter how you look at this, it’s not great news.
As painful as it may be for Yankees fans (and surely to the player himself), Jorge Posada is near the end of his career, if 2011 isn’t his last season. In the 2010 season, Posada was able to make only 78 starts as the catcher and batted .248 with 18 homers. I think most folks would agree that at this point in his career, Posada’s value to the Yankees is with his bat, and as the catcher, he not only hinders the team defensively, but he’s wearing himself down and reducing his offensive production.
Given that the Yankees don’t have a regular DH next year, I think the most reasonable answer is for Posada to get the majority of the starts there while also sharing time at DH with Alex Rodriguez and some of the other older players on the team. This plan isn’t perfect: while the DH is a great spot to stash big bats like Posada and A-Rod, playing Posada at the DH position means the Yankees will need to carry three catchers.
Carrying three catchers isn’t the end of the world, but it’s not the most ideal use of a roster spot. What I am proposing gives occasional starts at catcher to Posada, leaves Francisco Cervelli as the backup catcher and brings Jesus Montero up to the big leagues to do the majority of the catching. There is plenty of risk here: Montero has little experience as a catcher and Cervelli was over exposed last season and at times didn’t perform well defensively, which is something that I think we all expect as a given from a backup catcher.
I think this is the best solution for 2011. Alternatively, the Yankees may end up running Posada out there until he breaks – and he will get injured at some point, even with regular rest. But I think the 2011 season is the end of Posada’s career, no matter where he plays.
NOTES ON DEREK JETER WINNING THE GOLD GLOVE
ESPN and everybody else on the planet is balking a bit at Derek Jeter’s 2010 Gold Glove.
But modern fielding charts and rankings consistently put Jeter in the bottom half of their ratings. Two websites that study glovework — Fangraphs.com with its Ultimate Zone Rating and Fieldingbible.com — listed Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez as the top-fielding AL shortstop with Jeter nowhere close to even middle-of-the-pack status.
As soon as you use UZR in your argument against Jeter’s fielding, you lose me. UZR doesn’t use adequate sample sizes and compares the player to the other players rather than comparing the player to his past performance, meaning projected UZRs are, in a word, garbage – case in point, Mark Teixeira had a negative UZR the last time I looked, and Teix is an amazing 1st baseman.. I seriously doubt Jeter is the best SS in the American League; I would say Jeter is on the plus side of average, but there are some plays he is capable of that most short stops are not capable of, particularly putting his back to home plate and running into the outfield to catch fly balls. Bottom line, I think gold gloves are won by reputation – I dont think anybody sits down and looks at film or stats before they vote.
Anyway, congrats to Jeter, Teixeira and Robbie Cano on winning winning their Gold Gloves!