The Yankees lost their first member of the Core Four this offseason when Andy Pettitte retired. How soon until they lose their next? It could be by the end of this season.
Jorge Posada is going to be 40-years-old this summer, has relinquished the starting catchers duties, and most importantly, he is in the final year of his contract. 2011 very easily could be Posada’s last in Pinstripes.
When it comes to aging stars, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman takes a tough approach. He practically had to pry a jersey off of Bernie Williams, he let it be known that Hideki Matsui was not welcomed back a mere days after he won a World Series MVP award, and he took a hard nosed approach against Derek Jeter in contract talks this offseason. When it comes to Cashman, he is a man with an eye on the future.
So when Posada said this line to Tyler Kepner of the NY Times:
“After this year, it would be real tough to look somewhere else,” Posada said. “If I want to play, I would like to stay here.”
It might have been the first sign that 2011 will be Posada’s last year in baseball.
This is not to say that Posada can’t play in 2012 if he wanted to. But Posada, a very proud player, would have to swallow a lot of pride to get it done.
He is going to be the everyday DH in 2011 and that doesn’t mean that he would necessarily get that job in 2012. The Yankees will likely want that job to go to Alex Rodriguez at least part-time. That means there may only be about 80 games where Posada would be in the starting lineup. Is that enough for him to be happy?
Posada has also made a lot of money in his career. His current contract is worth $13 million annually. If he’s going to return he’s not going to even come close to that figure. Would Posada swallow enough pride to sign a deal that would essentially be incentive laden and likely south of $5 million?
Also, even if he did try to drive the value up by talking with other teams, which he probably wouldn’t even do, would he be able to find anybody interested in him? It might be embarrassing, but the recent market for DH’s has been pretty bad. Just ask Jermaine Dye (out of baseball), Manny Ramirez (signed for just $2 million), or Vladimir Guerrero (he signed with the Orioles, the Orioles!).
So for Posada to play in 2012 he would either have to swallow some serious pride to convince the Yankees to take him back or do something he said he won’t do and talk to other teams. Or both.
Enjoy it because 2011 is probably the final year of Posada’s career.