In the wake of Posada-gate this weekend, more details are emerging of exactly what went down, and what the Yankee response would have been. I’ll start with a Tweet from Buster Olney
Bottom line on the whole Posada thing: This episode will accelerate his departure from the team unless he starts producing at the plate ASAP.
Buster appeared on the Mike and Mike show on Monday morning and said this (listen)
Mike Golic-”If he doesn’t (start hitting) how is this going to end?”
Buster Olney-”He’s going to get released…Posada has to hit very soon to keep his spot on this team.”
Buster is an excellent reporter, as good as it gets when it comes to Yankee sources. He’s one of the few writers who I trust implicitly, knowing he’s not a Mets fan, an unsourced rumor monger or the type of reporter who looks to inflame even the most innocuous bits of information. Following the Yanks and Buster for as long as I have (he used to be the Yankee beat writer for the NY Times) I have a pretty good idea who his main source on the Yankees is, and it doesn’t get any better when it comes to baseball matters.
Next, we heard yesterday from Bill Madden that Jorge, in the midst of his fit of frustration on Saturday afternoon, asked the Yanks to cut him. Here’s the story:
In the heat of his anger and frustration Saturday night, Yankee icon Jorge Posada told general manager Brian Cashman amid a flood of F-bombs that he not only wanted out of the No. 9 spot in the Yankee batting order – he wanted out of the Yankees, too, according to team sources.
This strikes me as the Yankee brass laying the groundwork for precisely this contingency. If they go ahead and cut him, they will sell it to their fan base as ‘giving him what he asked for’ since he made it abundantly clear just how unhappy he is this weekend. Saturday’s incident will also give them some cover, where they will argue ‘he quit on his team in a huge series against the Red Sox’. Both of which are true, but make no mistake this is something the Yanks have prepared for all along. The blowup on Saturday is just going to make it easier for them to do from PR standpoint. At the WFAN Breakfast, Brian Cashman referred to Jorge needing to hit, or they’ll find someone else. As the team’s DH, you can do the math on that one.
It’s not something that will happen right away, Buster Olney went on to say that a decision will be made sometime around July, when the trade market heats up and they have a good idea of what’s going on in their farm system. Thankfully, in his first night back in the lineup last night, Jorge looked much better. He laced a long, hard hit double to deep Right and smacked a single to Right. But as we saw with Jeter’s recent 2 HR game against Texas, don’t get too excited over one good game. He’s still batting just .179, and if that doesn’t change he’s not going to stick around. Shields is a terrific pitcher, but he’s not a hard thrower. Anyone should hit his mistakes, even a player who’s past his expiration date.
If it comes down to him being released, I think it’s a ham fisted and cold-hearted move on the part of the front office. We all know the Yanks never wanted to give him that 4th year, and resented the way he used the Mets as a bargaining chip. But it’s petty to let that factor in to the 2011 decisions. I’ve never been the biggest Posada fan, but there’s no denying what a fixture he’s been with the team for the past 17 years. There are better ways to do this with a player who’s meant so much to the franchise. You could simply DL him with one of his old, lingering injuries and let him finish the season with the team, particularly his buddy Derek. It also sends a shock wave of baseball mortality throughout that clubhouse, which could very well be detrimental to the team’s performance. But Jorge himself may prefer to be released. We’ve heard rumblings he hopes to play beyond this year, so catching on with another team as their backup Catcher could give him a chance to establish some value heading into the off season.
So let me finish with the question I posed at the outset. How would you react if the Yankees release Jorge Posada in the middle of this season?
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