We all know what happened on Saturday night. About one hour before first pitch, 39-year-old designated hitter and Yankee leader Jorge Posada went to manager Joe Girardi and told him that he would not play in what turned out to be a 6-0 loss for the New York Yankees. When I heard that he would not play and general manager Brian Cashman’s comments to FOX insider Ken Rosenthal in the 2nd inning, many things went through my mind.
For one, it is somewhat odd that Posada would pull himself out of the lineup when he was going to hit in the last spot in the order for the first time since May 14th, 1999. So, maybe his ego took a big hit. Now, in his comments after the game, he said his back got stiff from taking ground balls at first base. Well, if you are a designated hitter, why are you taking groundballs at first to begin with? Girardi and Cashman did not even make any mention of Posada’s “back stiffness” in their talks with the media after the game.
The former Yankee catcher did have six home runs to begin the season, but he has not hit a home run since April 23rd against the Baltimore Orioles. He has the lowest batting average in the big leagues hitting .165 and has an OPS of .621, which is sub-par to say the least. Joe Girardi had said Friday night that the lineup had to be re-shuffled, and it appeared Posada would be one of those names involved in that shuffling.
The future for Posada does not appear to be getting any better if he cannot find his swing. In that designated hitter position, you are supposed to be able to hit the baseball. However, Posada is struggling to master that role and is taking his case to the media. When he and Girardi talked over finding productive ways to be a DH and find that routine, here is what Posada said:
“I don’t have a routine yet. I don’t think it’s gonna be there. I don’t think it’s gonna be one year.” Well, Posada does not exactly have more than a year to figure it out since his contract and most likely, his career expires at the end of the year. With Eric Chavez on the disabled list, the Yankees will have to find a way to help Posada become more productive in that role.
The rocky relationship that Cashman had with captain Derek Jeter has now escalated to Posada, who now might not play tomorrow or play well against Jon Lester, who he is 0-24 against, in a game the Yankees might have to win to avoid a downward spiral. Is this the time the Yankees need to call up their star prospect Jesus Montero from Scranton to boost the lineup?
The Posada controversy comes at a horrible time for him with a scout saying on Friday that star prospect Jesus Montero is “bored in AAA”. The kid is a hitting prospect who can somewhat catch. We have seen teams who get a youth infusion in their lineup like an Ike Davis for the Mets or an Eric Hosmer for the Royals play well when a new player is brought in. Nevertheless, can Jorge deal with less playing time each week? I am not sure if he can.
We can never thank Jorge Posada enough for all the great things he has done for this organization, including five World Series rings. Nevertheless, for a win now team, if Posada can’t figure out his swing by the All-Star Break, the Yankees need to make a change, and with the lucrative contract on the table, maybe this is the out the Steinbrenners and Posada wanted. Here is hoping we do not have to resort to ending this proud Yankee’s career early and like Jeter, he will bounce out of a bad slump.