David Cone said on last night’s broadcast that Joba was clearly upset about the way he and Posada were working together last night. He thought they had trouble getting on the same page. Joba was talking to Molina in the dugout after his night was over and it seemed pretty clear to Coney what the topic was.
This is nothing new, we’ve heard this complaint for years from almost every free agent pitcher that has come here. El Duque’s fights with Poasada were very public and often occurred right out on the mound. Randy Johnson insisted on Kelly Stinnett and John Flaherty being his personal catcher, even though Torre had an explicit policy against such arrangements. Now were seeing CC Sabathia throwing to Francisco Cervelli almost exclusively, Frankie’s caught 2 of CCs last 3 starts since Jorge came back from the DL. Posada’s a stubborn guy, he doesn’t like being shaken off and pitchers don’t like being told to throw a pitch they don’t have conviction in, especially veteran pitchers.
Do Pitchers like throwing to Posada? And more importantly, is it affecting their performances? Andy Pettitte has always loved working with Jorge, so clearly some do and some don’t. Lets look at a few pitchers 2009 splits by catcher and see if there’s anything there. Of course, opponents will influence these stats more than pitcher-catcher relationships, which is why I’ve never been much of a fan of CERA or other stats that look at these things. But lets just see if there’s anything to this.
Joba doesn’t appear to have much of a case. Hitters have suffered in every category while Joba has worked with Posada, tOPS tells the story as well as anything. tOPS is a stats that measures each player against his own average performance. As with OPS+ any number below 100 means your performance is sub-standard. Joba’s opposing hitters have posted +59 with Posada behind the plate, and +125 with Molina +132 with Cervelli. Opponents with Jorge behind the plate for Joba included the AL leading in Runs Scored TB Rays and #3 CLE, so its not like he faced the weak sisters of Baseball when Posada was catching. Looking at Joba splits in 08 and 07, it appears Jorge wasn’t much of a factor, though he clearly did better with Molina behind the dish in those years for whatever reason.
Run, Fat Boy, Run movie full AJ Burnett however, is another story. His stats have exploded with Jorge behind the plate so far this year, and its not even close. tOPS of +146 when Poasda’s behind the plate, +62 with Molina and +94 with Kevin Cash. Opponents with Posada have been Red Sox (twice), TEX and LAA. Opponents with Molina have been Rays (twice), CLE and BALT. The two horrible Sox starts could certainly be inflating these numbers, but as we all know AJ dominated the Sox last year, that was one of the main reasons we signed him in the first place. Something is different this year as compared to 08, and the Red Sox roster hasn’t changed significantly.
One thing that cant be ignored, the team played its best stretch of Baseball so far this year while Posada was on the DL. Perhaps there will be a similar run with Posada at some point this year, the season is only 10 weeks old and Posada has missed 3 weeks of it. We all know Jorge’s loss was devastating to last year’s team, but this is a very different group. Ask any Yankee beat reporter and they’ll tell you that Girardi would prefer to DH Posada more, but can’t with Matsui on the team. CC’s wishes and AJ performances may go a long way to explaining why.
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