MLB Free Agency: 10 Reasons Why Jorge Posada's Career Is over
It takes a lot to walk away from a game you love, especially if you think you still have something left.
That's the decision Jorge Posada has to make now. Does he go out for one last hurrah? Or does he walk away now, satisfied with what he's done?
That is never an easy decision.
Posada can walk away with his head held high, or he can be pushed into retirement.
It's hard to see a player—especially a fan favorite who meant so much—be unable to play at a high level anymore. However, I'd rather have that player leave on a high note and with dignity instead of trying to comeback and prove something.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, the time has come for Jorge Posada to walk away from baseball. Here are the reasons why.
The Bernie Williams Precedent
This type of thing happened before with Yankee favorite Bernie Williams.
Like Jorge Posada, Williams spent all of his career with the New York Yankees. He was popular with the fans and an integral part of that World Series run under Joe Torre.
Like Posada, age caught up with Williams, forcing him into a backup role towards the end of his career.
Once his contract ran up, Williams wanted to return, but the Yankees did not have a spot for him. Their outfield was more than full, and so was their bench.
Williams received offers from other teams but wanted to play for the Yankees. The Yankees pushed him into retirement.
Posada is facing the same dilemma now. If he wants to play, it's probably going to have to be with a different team.
The Yankees have shown that they are willing to cut favorite, long-time players if needed.
The main reason for Jorge Posada's decline is his age. He's 40 and will be 41 at the end of next season should he choose to play.
Many players start to decline after they hit age 35 or 36 as their bodies can no longer keep up with the rigors of the game.
Some players reinvent themselves to remain competitive, but most can't regain their former glory once they're older than 36.
Posada showed that he was able to stay relevant past the age of 35, but his body and age is finally catching up to him.
The body naturally deteriorates around that time, especially in athletes that can't play at the same level they've been playing since they were 25, 27 or 30 years old.
Posada's only going to get older, and there is no indication that he can revert the clock.
Jorge Posada's last season totals were a .238 AVG, 14 HR, 44 RBI, .315 OBP. Those numbers are a far cry from what he usually puts up.
His career averages are .273 AVG, 16.2 HR, 62.6 RBI, .374 OBP. His home run and RBI totals don't look far off, but remember, he was mainly a backup at the start of his career.
He didn't play in over 100 games until three years after he broke into the bigs. He wasn't even the full-time starting catcher until 2000, five years after he was called up.
Also, there was a solid stretch of him hitting at least 20 home runs—even 30 at one point from 2000 to 2007—and his RBI totals were usually north of 80 in that stretch.
Posada regained a bit of that in the postseason, but that is by no means a guarantee on how he'll play next season.
Jorge Posada was never exactly heralded for his glove behind the plate. He was known as more of an offensive catcher, but he knew how to call a game and work with a pitcher.
Since he didn't start out strong defensively, he's not going to end strong defensively either.
He's also not going to miraculously become a Gold Glove caliber catcher, or even first baseman, over the winter.
Injuries over the past couple of years have decreased his playing time as a catcher. All of last season, he was the DH except for 16 games.
His inability to play defense will limit his chances of finding a new team.
Going off of his limits at defense, the only role really for Jorge Posada is to be a DH/pinch-hitter.
That eliminates the entire NL unless one of them wants to get risky and have him play a position.
Which means Posada is left with the AL. Most of those teams are already set with their DH.
I'm not sure of how many of them would be willing to have a 40/41 year old DH who experienced a decline in numbers last season. The number of potential suitors keep dropping.
There has been talk of teams contacting Posada. There are no news as to what teams, but chances are they won't give him a guaranteed spot. He'll have to prove himself in spring training.
Inability to Hit Left-Handed Pitching
Look at the breakdown in numbers between Jorge Posada's at-bats against lefties and righties:
vs LHP: 65 AB, 3 R, 6 H, 1 2B, 14 HR, 3 RBI, 24 SO, .092 AVG, .169 OBP
vs RHP: 279 AB, 31 R, 75 H, 13 2B, 14 HR, 41 RBI, 52 SO, .269 AVG, .348 OBP
Sure, he had more at-bats against righties, but that was for a reason. Posada couldn't hit left-handed pitching, and the numbers show that.
The ratio of at-bats to strikeouts is greater when he faced a left-hander as opposed to when he faced a right-hander. Not to mention Posada only managed six hits against them.
Interested teams will have to note that and see if Posada could hit against lefties again. If not, Posada's chances of finding a job as a major league player will be slim.
Risk of Injury
Throughout the course of his career, Jorge Posada experienced some pretty harsh injuries.
When he was still in the minors, he broke his leg and dislocated his ankle.
Then in 2008, he was seriously injured again and required surgery to repair his labrum in his right shoulder. After the 2010 season, Posada had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Those are a lot of injuries, two big ones especially in the tail end of his career.
Injuries, especially multiple ones, tend to hurt the players' production—which might explain why Posada's numbers are starting to go down rather drastically. Also, with age, the risk of injury increases as does the chance to aggravate old ones.
Posada isn't exactly injury plagued, but he's had two surgeries in two years. That has to be a warning flag.
No Room on the Yankees Roster
If Jorge Posada was to end his career, the team he'd pick to end it with would obviously be the New York Yankees.
However, they just have no room on their roster for an aging former star.
The Yankees are known to reach for the best and assemble the best team they can.
They can't afford to give Posada a spot because of sympathy when there's a better option out there.
Their DH situation seems to be set as well as their catcher, both starting and backup. The Yankees need to improve the bench, and bringing Posada back won't exactly do that.
It's sad to say and tough to realize, but Posada just doesn't have a spot on the New York Yankees as a player anymore.
Russell Martin. Francisco Cervelli. Austin Romine. Jesus Montero.
Those are all Jorge Posada's successors.
Martin has the full-time catching job. Cervelli is currently the backup and Romine is the third-string but figures to be the future catcher if he stays with the team.
Then there's Montero, who has an amazing bat which was put on display in September and parts of the postseason. He has the DH role locked down with Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter figuring in there as well to get some rest.
As much as I don't feel right about a 21—soon to be 22—year-old DH, he's the best guy for the job.
These guys are Posada's replacements, and they're all rather good ones, too.
He Went out on Top
At least Jorge Posada can say he's had one heck of a career.
He's a four-time champion, five-time All-Star and a five-time Silver Slugger. Posada has had a better career than most.
He doesn't have to go out chasing for that World Series ring. He can rest knowing he's got four of them with his friends.
Despite his massive slump this past season, he came back with a monster postseason. His numbers: .429 AVG, .579 OBP, and even a triple. That's one way to give the fans, and yourself a good memory to go out on.
Posada probably realizes what kind of career he's had. Of course he still thinks he can play, no one wants to really quit, but there comes a time when it's the right call.
All Posada has to do now is make that call.