Some Thoughts on Posada and Retirement

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I’ll just come right out and say it: I hope Jorge Posada retires.

Not because I worry about him taking a roster spot next season and failing to produce. And not because I worry about the Yankees committing more money to aging players.

No, instead my hope that Jorge retires is driven by purely sentimental reasons.  I want to see Jorge leave the game on a high note. And, most importantly, I don’t want to see him subjected to the same criticisms and drama that were seemingly never ending in 2011.

Jorge definitely had his ups and downs this year, but he went out with a bang in the ALDS, batting .429 with four runs scored and a triple. (A triple! From Jorge!) And all this after being benched indefinitely in August and not knowing when (if ever) he would see more playing time as a Yankee. In the minds of Yankees fans, there has never been any question of whether Jorge has heart. He wears his emotions on his sleeve without apology, and we love him and his passion for the game.

But the reality is that Jorge is a 40-year old catcher on a team with no shortage of DH candidates and a handful of much younger catchers waiting in the wings. Playing time for Jorge in 2012 would be almost non-existent. As much as I love seeing him in the dugout, chatting with rookies and laughing with Jeter, I think the time for retirement has finally arrived.

It would be impossible for me to describe here how much Jorge has meant to the Yankees and their fans over the last 16 years. You could ask any Yankees fan and they would have no trouble recounting their favorite Posada moments. Yankees fans are smart – they didn’t allow the negativity that swirled around Posada this season to outweigh all of the positives in his career, and a poor 2012 season wouldn’t ruin Posada’s legacy in their eyes, either. But Posada is a proud guy, and as much as he loves the Yankees and loves being on the ball field, I believe he knows his days as a player have reached an end.

Yes, as Joe Girardi said yesterday, when Posada retires he will be missed. But I don’t believe that retirement will mean we have seen the last of Jorge. He is an incredibly smart player who knows the game inside and out, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him remain with the Yankees in the capacity of a coach, a commentator, or a consultant. One of the many great things about the Yankees organization is how involved former players are with the team, and I believe that Jorge will be a great addition to guys like Tino Martinez, David Cone, and Paul O’Neill who are retired but remain very active with the team. Jorge is a beloved Yankee, and I have to think that as long as he wants to be involved with the team, the Yankees brass will be more than willing to find a place for him. As for the fans, we will certainly be there to support Jorge and his family in whatever path he chooses  this offseason.

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