• ‘Sado Putting In The Work

    Posted by on March 31st, 2010 · Comments (21)

    Via Joel Sherman

    In fact, if you think you saw [Jorge] Posada bicycling around the Fisher Island region this winter, you probably did. The relocation from Manhattan to Florida was designed to allow Posada to take parts of his conditioning outdoors. And two or three times a week, he and Yankees strength and conditioning coordinator Dana Cavalea — whom Posada has used as a personal trainer in each of the last three offseasons — endured 50-mile bike rides through the streets and over the bridges of Miami.

    Posada pedaled against age and history, the coming avalanche of Yankees catching prospects and the evils done by the most merciless job in this sport.

    “He loves baseball and he wants to play as long as possible,” Cavalea said.

    So aside from his Tour de Miami jaunts, the hard working Posada worked harder than ever at age 38. He put in 3 1⁄2-hour session five days a week beginning on Dec. 1. The results are less weight (down to 210 pounds) and body fat, and greater strength. Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, who caught until he was 40, thinks Posada “looks 30.”

    So he pedals. Because the past is an ugly history lesson. Last year Posada hit 22 homers in his age-37 season. So did Mike Piazza in 2006. Piazza never caught another inning, hit eight homers in 2007 and retired. With catchers, it can go quickly.

    Besides Posada and Piazza, Carlton Fisk is the only other catcher 37 or older to reach 20 homers, doing it twice. In fact, with Posada now 38, here is the entire list of catchers 38 or older with more than 12 homers in a season: Fisk, who did it six times. Fisk and Bob Boone are the only catchers in major league history to show consistent year-after-year durability in their late-30s.

    Posada has the great pedaling work ethic to try to join that list. And you don’t make it this far without favorable genetics and steely pride. He also was a middle infielder through his first professional season in 1991. So the squatting wear and tear on his legs does not go back into his amateur days.

    Still, he has caught in 1,490 regular-season games, plus another 110 in the postseason — or the equivalent the Yankees hope Posada can provide in 2010. The last catcher 38-or-older to start 110 or more games was two decades ago, when the 42-year-old Fisk started 112 games for the 1990 White Sox.

    Great to hear. Still, no matter how hard you work, and how great shape you’re in, when you’re older, it’s easier to get hurt – and it takes longer for the hurt to go away. And, that’s the biggest thing that Posada will have to deal with…and hope to avoid.

    Add on: Is Jorge Posada a future Hall-of-Famer?

    Comments on ‘Sado Putting In The Work

    1. YankCrank
      March 31st, 2010 | 9:34 am

      Posada will break down at some point, it’s inevitable, and it’ll most likely happen before the end of his current deal…but we certainly can’t pin it on a lack of desire and work ethic.

      Seriously, Posada and Rivera will be players that aren’t truly appreciated until they’re gone. As much of an advantage a shutdown closer has been, a switch-hitting catcher with the offensive production Jorgy has put out has been quite an advantage we’ve enjoyed over other teams for years.

      Having to endure a season of Jose Molina and Pudge in 2008 made me weep for a Posada-less future.

    2. Corey Italiano
      March 31st, 2010 | 9:37 am

      YankCrank wrote:

      Seriously, Posada and Rivera will be players that aren’t truly appreciated until they’re gone.

      Seriously? With all the HoF talk that surrounded Posada over the last year, I’ve been starting to think he’s overrated.

      And I think Rivera is plenty appreciated now, IMO.

    3. Corey Italiano
      March 31st, 2010 | 9:38 am

      @ Corey Italiano:
      Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate Jorge and think he’s done a fine job over the years. More than fine even. But, I don’t think he belongs in Cooperstown.

    4. clintfsu813
      March 31st, 2010 | 9:54 am

      I am a huge Posada fan. I am totally appreciative of Sado’s and Jeter and Mo’s stubborness to play their age. These are special players and I feel 50 years from we’ll be admiring how well they played even at advanced ages. It just doesnt happen very often.

    5. March 31st, 2010 | 10:45 am

      @ Corey Italiano: Note the add on link that I just threw in at the end of this post.

    6. Tresh Fan
      March 31st, 2010 | 11:38 am

      As I mentioned in some post a while back the 2009 Yankees are the only team I know of to have won a World Championship with a 38 year old catcher. Last season Posada caught 785 of the 1,450 defensive innings put in by the Yanks(54.1%). I would suspect that the percentage would be closer to 50% (and probably less than 50%) this coming year. But if luck holds out Posada will not be on the DL at the same time Nick Johnson is so Jorge can fill in some games as DH. Let’s just hope that proves to be the case and that Posada’s bat doesn’t fail.

    7. Evan3457
      March 31st, 2010 | 12:01 pm

      RE: Posada for the Hall…not quite yet. He’s close, but not yet.

      He has to last at least 1, and possibly 2 more good seasons. He’s not regarded as a great game-caller or handler of pitches, and he doesn’t have the “black ink” or “grey ink” numbers that a weaker defensive catcher who is a dominant hitter would need to get into the hall (think Mike Piazza, here). He’s also never been regarded as the most improtant leader of this team. (Paul O’Neill and the veteran starters were early in his career, and Jeter was later on. We know he’s been the “holler guy”, and so do the local beat writers, but the national BBWAA membership won’t be aware of his leadership impact. They will know that Girardi felt it necessary to bench Posada and let Molina catch him for this last title. Some will also be aware how many veteran pitchers didn’t like throwing to him, because of he game-calling and very poor pitch-blocking.) This will be blunted somewhat by the increasing membership of the modern analysts/sabermatricians, who know the right evaluation of Posada’s hitting in context vs. his contemporaries at catcher.

      So his Hall chances will come to rest on his cumulative totals. Getting to 1000 RBI this year will help. Getting to 300 HR (he’s 57 short) would be enormous, but he’ll almost certainly need this season and two more to get there.

      Of the 9 catchers on his similarity scores top 10, 3 are in the hall; 6 are. Bill Freehan probably should be, but isn’t. So Jorge is hanging on the fence by that measure. Hall of Fame Monitor? Same thing. The average HOFer scores 100, Jorge has 98. Hall of Fame Standards? Same thing. Average HOFer score is 50, and Jorge has 42.

      If he lasts 3 more seasons (age 40), gets to 1700 hits, 270 HR and 1100 RBI, well, there are only 6 other catchers in big league history who have done that: Berra, Bench, Piazza, Rodriguez, Carter and Fisk. 4 are in the Hall already, and the other two are going in. If you drop it to 1500 hits, 250 HR, and 1000 RBI (more or less where Jorge will be by July), then Lance Parrish is added to the list. Parrish is not in the Hall, and he’s not going to be.

      So 1 or 2 more good seasons are required, I think. I don’t know if he’s going to get them. I predicted him to start declining noticeably this year. If he doesn’t get there, it’ll be sad, but not tragic.

    8. #15
      March 31st, 2010 | 12:51 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      Very good analysis and on the mark. Jorge’s right there, but needs a few more of the “career totals” stats to pile up a notch or two. One other point…. 5 rings (the first one was sort of a gift), but 4 of which he was an integral part. How many other catchers not named Berra or Dickey have that on their resume? Off the top of my head… these guys are the only three.

      We will miss Jorge.

    9. KPOcala
      March 31st, 2010 | 4:35 pm

      Ted Simmons is a guy that Bill James has often written should be considered for the HOF. Posada is better. Furthermore as the catcher for a team that has 5 WS championships, how in the hell could he be as bad behind the plate as his detractors claim? He’s also been better for a longer period of time than Parrish. He really should be a no-brainer for the HOF….

    10. Corey Italiano
      March 31st, 2010 | 4:40 pm

      @ KPOcala:
      Everyone classifies HOFers in a different way, that’s how. Some people like to put in all of the top players in their position for a generation of players. I’m not one of them.

      I think the HOF is too crowded with “good” players already, and I believe they should reserve that honor for players who are “outstanding”. I don’t think Posada is a game changer/impact player/whatever you want to call it, you can have a different opinion of course.

    11. Corey Italiano
      March 31st, 2010 | 4:42 pm

      To elaborate further, Griffey Jr. is a HOFer. Bernie Williams is not. Both were outstanding in their prime, but one was a cut above the other.

    12. Corey Italiano
      March 31st, 2010 | 4:44 pm

      @ KPOcala:
      Also, it’s a common mistake, but Posada didn’t play during the 1996 playoffs.

    13. MJ Recanati
      March 31st, 2010 | 5:35 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      how in the hell could he be as bad behind the plate as his detractors claim?

      This is one case where both the defensive metrics and the game-watchers agree: Posada is dreadful behind the plate.

    14. KPOcala
      March 31st, 2010 | 8:52 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:

      You of course correct about the 1996 playoffs. Still, having a long,and yes I’ll use the word “great” offensive career “for a catcher” should make him a serious HOF candidate. He has also thrown out 29% of baserunners to date. So as far as cutting down the running game, he has. No, he’s not Yogi Berra or Johnny Bench, just sayin’…..

    15. Corey Italiano
      March 31st, 2010 | 11:10 pm

      @ KPOcala:
      I completely agree with what you said. That being said, he’s not a hall of famer to me. I’ve never, in all the games I’ve seen where he’s played, sat there and said wow I’m watching a hall of famer. A-Rod? Yes. Mo? Yes. Jeter? Yes. Griffey Jr.? Yes. Frank Thomas? Yes. Greg Maddux? Yes.

      There’s no shame in having a plaque in center field and not one upstate. That goes for Bernie, too.

    16. Corey Italiano
      March 31st, 2010 | 11:13 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:
      To me, you should know a hall of famer when you see one. You shouldn’t have to look at the back of a baseball card (or look up his stats on fangraphs for this current young generation of fan).

    17. Evan3457
      April 1st, 2010 | 1:23 am

      Actually, Posada’s not really a “better hitter” than Simmons. Simmons went through a long decline phase, Posada has yet to go through his. If he has the same 3 poor seasons or so at the end of his career, Simmons will have the better overall hitting record. If Posada doesn’t have those seasons of decline, then he’ll deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

      But that’s basically what I said above.

      At this point, Posada is 1000 hits and 400 RBI behind Simmons, for their careers. I don’t think he’s going to catch him in either category, although he’s will surpass him in HR and BB by a significant margin. Simmons also had a higher DP rate, but Posada might catch him by the time his career’s over.

    18. KPOcala
      April 1st, 2010 | 4:31 pm

      @ Evan3457:

      Good point, I was to lazy to toggle back and forth and look at their full career stats.

    19. KPOcala
      April 1st, 2010 | 4:40 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:

      This starts to get into the realm of: “Jim Rice is in, therefore…..” I’m not sure what really constitutes a HOF career anymore,and I’ve got over 35 years of watching thousands of games behind me. Still, if I could go back to say, 1975, and had to pick between Rice & Posada to build a club around Posada would be the easy choice. But then of course, I can’t……..

    20. Corey Italiano
      April 1st, 2010 | 4:51 pm

      @ KPOcala:
      I don’t have Jim Rice in my HOF, but that’s me. I am a bit biased, however, since I never got to see him play.

    21. KPOcala
      April 2nd, 2010 | 1:26 am

      @ Corey Italiano:
      He was a hell of hitter, but a lot it was in the “awe factor”, back in the late ’70′s. He broke his bat during a checked swing one time (I’ll always believe it was cracked, nobody, especially with those thick handles could do that). He also snapped some bats over his thigh. I really believe that is why the horse manure machine got loaded up the last few years. Maybe Peter Gammons had his finger in the pie as well…

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