What do the Yankees do if Jorge Posada can’t play catcher anymore?
They are a team filled to the brim with Designated Hitters waiting-to-happen, so if Posada’s shoulder is no-good and he can’t throw out enough runners to keep anyone honest, then the Yankees have a big problem. (See Gary Carter after 1987).
How big, you ask? Posada is still owed $32 Million over the next two seasons. While last year was the first year in 11 years that Posada played in less than 110 games, age is a factor as is the injury that limited him to only 168 at-bats last season. He is, at 37 years old, a very big question mark.
So, if not Posada, then what? Well, after last season every Yankee fan has to love Jose Molina, but it must also be understood that he will never be more than Jose Molina. The middle of the 3 “Flying” Molina brothers, at 33 Jose has defined himself as a defensive asset and offensive liability. No one with any sense of the game of baseball sees that changing.
With no feasible minor league catcher ready to ascend to the big league level, what do the Bombers do if Jorge can’t play or goes down early?
With no free agent catcher available under the age of 33, the water is muddy. But yours truly, the Deputy Dog, votes for the best defensive catcher of all-time, Ivan Rodriguez. The market for Pudge is cool at best and he could be had for a fraction of the $12.2 Million he made last year.
The knock, of course, is that he is 37 years old. So is Posada and the Yankees gave him $45 Million. At age 36, I-Rod played in 115 games last season and is still the owner of 13 American League Gold Gloves behind the dish.
Pudge batted .276 in slightly fewer than 400 at-bats last year, though his power production slipped. The guy is still a consummate professional and the best to ever wear a catcher’s mitt. Rodriguez also stayed in solid off-season shape as he prepared for the World Baseball Classic, so you know he is ready to go when camp opens.
While anyone that roots for the Yankees would like to have Dioner Navarro back in pinstripes, that’s not going to happen. I would hate to have to see Joe Girardi put the gear on this season. Managing and catching is just too much to ask from one man.
In staying true to my previous columns, it’s only money and they are the Yankees. So, I, the Deputy Dog, soundly endorse Ivan Rodriguez for backup catcher.