A few weeks ago, I wrote an article depicting the saddest endings to Yankees' careers. As we enter the final stretch of this season, it seems Jorge Posada may be heading for that list, and it is hard to watch.
This didn't just start yesterday, but back in spring training when the team brought in a good catcher in Russell Martin, sending Posada the message that he would not be in the catching rotation for 2011. He took it in stride with relative professionalism, but did not show it on the field. Relegated to a designated hitter only, Posada struggled for nearly two months at the position, failing to clear .200—well below his career average.
The struggles culminated in May when Posada took himself out of the lineup against the Red Sox. The situation became slightly overblown by general manager Brian Cashman, but it was very close to the end of his Yankees career at that moment. The two sides settled their differences, and Posada returned to his role with something to prove.
For awhile, he proved it, but has started to return to his early-season self. A week ago, Posada was informed that he was benched, and there was no definitive knowledge of when he'd return. He claimed he wasn't happy about it, but took it relatively OK for the circumstance. Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays, Posada emerged with a six-RBI day and a grand slam, and has gained a spot into Monday's lineup against the Kansas City Royals.
But to be fair, that day could be the last notable day of Posada's great career. Once Alex Rodriguez returns from the disabled list this week, there will be little room for Posada to play short of a once-a-week fill-in role to give somebody a break. When the 40-man roster opens up, he will have even fewer at-bats still, something he will most likely despise, but will have to accept.
You can even make a case that he will not make the postseason roster. There is no spot he can enter short of a road game in the World Series that can be beneficial to the team. It would be hard to see, but a reality the Yankees may not be afraid to face.
Regardless of his performance or playing time, the Yankees and Posada will have a possible dilemma in November, but hopefully the great catcher will make it easy on them. For everyone's sake, including his own, he should retire a proud Yankee who had a great career, helping the team win five World Series, something not many players in history can say. He will be loved by fans forever no matter what, so going out in decent standing would be great.
However, if Posada becomes stubborn and continues his pursuit to play, he will put Cashman in the stickiest situation of his administrative career with the Yankees. The general manager will have no choice but to let him go, and a disgruntled Posada could have an extended period away from the team before mending what has been a very good relationship with the team.
So for everyone's sake, Posada, please retire peacefully. The fans love you for what you have done and respect your place in history. Don't turn this into a soap opera we can't bear to watch.