Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Time to start transitioning Posada to DH

Jorge Posada was a bit miffed at not being activated for yesterday's game against the Baltimore Orioles. He's likely to be even angrier if the New York Yankees finally tell him what has become obvious: that they need to start transitioning him to a designated hitter role.

I'm not suggesting that Posada become the Yankees full-time DH right now. I still think he can catch two or three games a week. But I think it's time for the Yankees to acknowledge that the plan to have a 38-year-old catching 100-120 baseball games this year year was unwise. Having Posada catch a few games a week and DH the other games keeps his still superior power bat in the lineup everyday while lowering the risk of a devastating injury that forces him out for an extended period of time.

Posada's been a #1 catcher since 1999 so he's unlikely to take this news well. But I think it would be better for him because it will alleviate the wear-and-tear on his knees and still get him his four at-bats each night. He could keep piling up the offensive numbers that will make him a Hall of Fame candidate.

One of the primary reasons for the Yankees sticking with Posada, despite his defensive problems and trouble interacting with pitchers, was that they really had no solid player to replace him. No-hit defensive guys such as Jose Molina and John Flaherty had fairly lengthy careers as back-ups in the Bronx because of this void. But Francisco Cervelli has proven that he can be an everyday catcher in the big leagues. He has good relationships with his pitchers, a clutch bat and the youthful energy and enthusiasm that a veteran club like the Yankees desperately needs.

Posada is a fierce competitor and will be reluctant to admit that his days as an everyday catcher should end. His mental and physical toughness have made him one of the premier catchers of his era. But part of being a team player is a willingness to do what's best for the team and what's best is for Posada to start transitioning to a DH role and let the youngster get nicked up by all those bouncing pitches and foul balls. After getting over his hurt feelings, Posada may realize he doesn’t miss that part of the game too much.

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