I was very happy this afternoon when I saw that Jorge Posada will announce his retirement in the coming weeks. Don’t get me wrong – I love Jorge and will miss him, but I believe that his choice to retire right now instead of attempting to play in the 2012 season is the right one.
When it comes to Jorge (and Jeter and Mo as well), my perception of their actions is driven by purely sentimental reasons. I’m happy to see Jorge leave the game on a high note. And, most importantly, I’m happy that he won’t be 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, which is why Yankees fans have such a deep love for him and his passion for the game.
But the reality right now is that Jorge is a 40-year old catcher, and the Yankees have no shortage of DH candidates and a plethora of much younger catchers waiting in the wings. Playing time for Jorge in 2012 would be almost non-existent even if the Yankees had shown an interest in bringing him back for another year. And as much as I love seeing him in the dugout, I can’t (and don’t want to) imagine him sitting in a home dugout anywhere other than Yankee Stadium.
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. His career line of .273/.374/.474 with 275 home runs and 5 World Championships doesn’t even begin to tell the story. 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 have ruined Posada’s legacy in their eyes, either. But Posada is a Yankees lifer, something that is almost unheard of in today’s business-first world of Major League Baseball, and even if Posada believes he has another year of playing time left in him, his decision to retire as a Yankee is the right one.
As I said before, Jorge will be missed – just as Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte are, and just as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera one day will be. But I don’t believe that retirement will mean we have seen the last of Jorge. He has always been 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 always be there to support Jorge for all the great baseball moments he has given us over the years.