Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Posada must manage his disappointment

Jorge Posada is a proud, fiery man and an aggressive baseball player. Those qualities helped him go from a 24th round draft pick to a borderline Hall of Fame candidate. But he is dealing with the disappointment of no longer being a #1 catcher. Can he manage his disappointment?

Posada is starting spring training camp knowing that he is now the full-time designated hitter for the New York Yankees. Brian Cashman let him know months ago that catching was no longer his responsibility so he has had time to mentally prepare for his new role. But he seems wistful about his old job even if he is resigned to his fate.

Posada, on the last year of his deal, can't even talk about what may come in 2012. But if he can be successful in his DH role this year, if he can continue to bring power and have clutch at-bats, it boosts his chances of staying with the only team he has ever played for, something that Posada seems to want badly. Becoming a good DH can only help prolong his career since Posada, turning 40 this August, won’t have to deal with the day-to-day grind of squatting behind the plate.

But I doubt Posada sees this move as a positive. His pride and fierce nature has helped fuel the Yankees’ drive towards multiple championships, but his stubbornness could also prevent him from seeing the upside of his situation. I can imagine Posada becoming very frustrated if he starts off slow at the plate. Somewhere in his mind, he could blame that on his absence behind the plate.

Maybe Posada will surprise us all and embrace his new role as DH and mentor to the talented youngsters in the Yankees’ catching corps. They could certainly learn a lot from the guy who has helped guide the Yankees to five World Series titles and caught some of the best pitchers in baseball history, including Mariano Rivera. If he can do that, he can turn his disappointment into joy and a longer tenure in Yankee land.

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