• Posada, If At First…

    Posted by on April 22nd, 2008 · Comments (12)

    The last time that Jorge Posada truly “caught” a game for the Yankees this season was April 8th. That was two weeks ago. Since that time, Posada (when he has played) has mostly been a D.H. for the Yankees. In this role, Jorge’s BA/OBP/SLG line has been (to date): .310/.355/.517 (in 31 PA).

    Posada may have a (in his words) “dead” shoulder; but, it’s not adversely impacting his batting skill.

    On Saturday, the Yankees played Posada at first base. It was the 19th time that Jorge has played there in his big league career. (And, in those 19 games, he’s logged 107.6 innings at the position – making 1 error in 107 chances.) According to Baseball-Reference.com, Posada’s RF/9 innings at first base is 8.86 – compared to a league average RF/9 innings of 9.42 – and that’s not terrible.

    The Yankees claim that Posada may return to catching this week. If Jorge cannot make a return to being the Yankees primary backstop, they should strongly consider making him their primary first baseman (replacing Jason Giambi).

    Heck, at this point, I might even consider doing this move if Posada’s shoulder returns to it’s normal state. Jose Molina and Chad Moeller have both been catchers on first place teams – and they both have World Series rings, albeit earned as back-ups. They’re not going to cost the Yankees any games with their work behind the plate. And, the way that Giambi is hitting, the weak bats of Molina and Moeller would be the same as having Jason in the line-up now.

    Of course, if Posada could catch, you could also start a platoon of Shelley Duncan or Morgan Ensberg with Wilson Betemit at first and sit Giambi. But, considering that Betemit is on the D.L. with corneal ulcers and Duncan is in the minors, at this moment, it’s going to be hard to work such a set-up.

    Hey, in the end, it’s all just food for thought. But, if Posada can’t catch, soon, it will be time to stop thinking about what’s on the menu – and, it will become time to place an order. Me? I think I’m going to go with the Posada First Sacker Special with a side order of Molina-Moeller – - and, please, hold the Giambi.

    Comments on Posada, If At First…

    1. j
      April 22nd, 2008 | 10:18 am

      The problem with this idea, I think, is that, Molina and/or Moeller, if given substantial playing time, are going regress to their true batting ability, which as crazy as it sounds, probably isn’t much better than what Giambi is doing right now. The flip side of that is that you always have a chance of Giambi replicating his 2005 season, where he was a turd for a couple of months and then basically the league MVP for the remainder of the season. Posada’s shoulder definitely complicates things, and if it’s an extended situation, I would definitely rather have Molina/Posada than Molina/Giambi, but I still think you have to go with Posada/Giambi if you can.

    2. MJ
      April 22nd, 2008 | 10:59 am

      I was thinking about the Giambi 2005 scenario as well where, out of nowhere, he started killing the ball in late June/early July. Still, that was three seasons and several injuries earlier. Giambi just looks terrible at the plate for a guy that was supposedly in great shape and able to spray the ball to all fields.

      For the second time in a couple of years, they need to politely go to Giambi and tell him that he needs to go to the minors to figure this crap out. I seem to remember that the last time they tried that, he put down the cheeseburgers and started hitting.

    3. E-ROC
      April 22nd, 2008 | 11:20 am

      Why not just outright release Giambi?? It’s the last year of his contract. And he isn’t exactly having the type of year you would expect from Giambi, given that it’s a contract year.

      Go with Posada at first full time, or at least until his shoulder is 100%. Molina and Moeller are hitting at the moment. Why not ride the hot hand(s)?

      Is Betemit useful still? Alberto Gonzalez is holding his own quite well.

      Promote Darrell Rasner.

    4. baileywalk
      April 22nd, 2008 | 11:58 am

      I know everyone’s on a release-Giambi kick since the Jays dumped Thomas, but to pay someone 26 million dollars to walk away is too steep even for the Yankees. He’s clearly in good shape, so it’s not hamburgers. And I really don’t think he’s forgotten how to hit. In a sense, he’s like Mussina — he’s old and his bat is slower now. We look at this older players and want them to do something to improve and sometimes they just can’t — their bodies are simply at a point where they aren’t as good as their competitors.

      Also, it’s a disaster if Jorge can’t catch anymore and he becomes a first baseman. They just gave him a monster four-year deal as a catcher because they had no alternative. He wouldn’t have gotten that contract if they knew he was going to not even fulfil one MONTH of it as a catcher. Besides, their future first baseman — a long-term first baseman — is waiting on the open market at the end of the year.

      The Yankees better pray that Jorge’s shoulder comes back to life.

    5. gphunt
      April 22nd, 2008 | 1:03 pm

      Baileywalk–So if Giambi’s bat is slower and he can’t perform at the level of even getting his average up to .250 then what would you do with him?

      He’s drawing walks, which is good, but he’s also striking out a lot. He’s not hitting for any power and he can’t make a throw to first base.

      I think the negatives by far out weight his positives.

    6. phishie
      April 22nd, 2008 | 1:05 pm

      baileywalk: Are you referring to Teixera?

    7. E-ROC
      April 22nd, 2008 | 1:44 pm

      It’s worse to watch a $26 million pinch hitter. Giambi might be relegated to this until he starts hitting and Posada moves back to his catching duties.

    8. baileywalk
      April 22nd, 2008 | 1:45 pm

      I am referring to Big Tex. Personally, I want him very much to be the future first baseman. I don’t know if anyone else agrees — it will be a long, expensive contract — but I think he’s worth it.

      gphunt, I’m not suggesting that Giambi doesn’t suck right now and that he’s not dragging the team down. My point is that you can’t just throw up your hands and cavalierly say “cut him.” 26 million dollars! That’s probably more than the entire Marlins’ staff. You hate to make decisions based on money, and right now I truly wish Shelley was up here in the bigs playing first base and left field, but because of Giambi’s contract you have to give him more time. It sucks, it’s hard to swallow, and trust me I wouldn’t shed a tear to see Giambi gone (though I do like the guy), but… I just keep coming back to that insane number: 26 million.

      Giambi has always hit when healthy. But maybe his body has finally given out on him. In the end, I think the Yanks have to give him another month to see if he can get his swing back before they say good-bye and write him a check.

    9. April 22nd, 2008 | 1:46 pm

      Posada has stated that he things of himself as a catcher, hinting that he didn’t like the idea of being at first. His career as a catcher is coming to an end. He’s never been that good defensively and a sore shoulder is going to put him in Mike Piazza territory. A move to first base could prolong his career quite a bit an give him a legitimate shot at the hall of fame. He would be wise to be less resistant to the idea.

      Giambi may come around, but he’s dead weight at the moment. Posada would be just as good defensively and provide a bigger bat. Ensberg or Duncan would be defensive improvements, but aren’t all stars at the plate yet.

      Wilson Betemit serves the team best by remaining on the DL. Bring back Alberto Gonzalez to fill in as a utility man. Betemit can neither hit nor field.

      Jeff
      http://pinstripers.blogspot.com

    10. hopbitters
      April 22nd, 2008 | 2:10 pm

      I’d have no problem with shelling out the money for Teixeira.

      I think what concerns me most about Giambi is that he’s not even getting on base. His OBP is currently about 50 points below the league average. Even last year, he was only a shade (17 points) above average. And no matter how many times he claims he will, he doesn’t seem willing to adjust in a real game situation and do anything other than spray yet another ball into the shift. If he’s at the point where he can’t reach first base other than by HR, we really don’t need to see the return of the King(man).

    11. gphunt
      April 22nd, 2008 | 2:15 pm

      I hear ya. That makes good sense. But I just can’t help but think paying 26 million up front to not produce or paying him 26 million over the course of a year to stay on the team and not produce.

      Of course, you can’t say that the Yanks are stacked at the first base position anyways. I guess you might as well just leave him be for another month like you said.

    12. April 28th, 2008 | 4:06 pm

      [...] will be different for Posada? Then again, maybe all those in Yankeeland better start thinking about Jorge becoming the Yankees first baseman when he returns to [...]

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