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Thursday, May 19, 2011

On Jorge Posada's Future, The Ringo Nickname, and Who the Real Core Yankees Are

NBC Sports' Hardball Talk writes today about an ESPN New York article about Jorge Posada's future with the Yankees -- specifically, whether he will be gone before the year is over. The original piece says that the Yankees "will reconsider Jorge Posada's future with the team if his numbers don't improve by the All-Star break, according a baseball official with knowledge of the Yankees' thinking." The article also says:
By the All-Star break, the Yankees will have three options. They can stick with him, trade him or release him. One team source optimistically said it would be to stick with him. Posada is hitting .179.

"When it comes to Posada, I think he's going to be better," said one Yankee insider.
What's missing in this story, and pretty much missing from most of the coverage, are these facts: in the first 36 games of the season, Posada started 32 of those games, missing four games. Including the Saturday sitdown, he has not started in four of the next five games, although he did pinch-hit on Sunday. Don't expect to see Posada much against lefties anytime soon, thanks to his 0-for-24 numbers against them this year. For now, at least, he's a part-time player.

Anyhow, lots of fans are talking about the article, and what it all means. I think it all depends upon whether the Yankees are winning. If Posada continues to hit poorly, but the Yankees are rolling on all cylinders, I could see them keeping him on indefinitely, albeit in that smaller role. If he's hitting poorly, and the team is losing, I could see Brian Cashman making a big shakeup -- sooner than the All-Star Break -- the way he did in 2005 when moving Bernie Williams out of center field, Tony Womack off second base, and bringing up Robinson Cano.

This time around, my guess would be that if Jorge never gets it together, and the team is slumping, they would release Posada and call up either Jorge Vazquez or Jesus Montero from AAA. Vazquez is hitting .308 in AAA and has 14 homers, 41 RBI and a .361 OBP. Montero is hitting .318 in AAA with 2 homers, 12 RBI, and a .350 OBP.

But the trade idea suggested in this piece is just silly. Who are you going to get for a DH hitting .179 and making $13 million this year, even if it would be "only" $6 million left on the contract by the All-Star Break?

* * *
Anyhow, the Hardball Talk piece talks about the ESPN article, and writes: "For this to be any sort of news, it has to mean that the Yankees would cut the Ringo of their Core Four* if he can’t find his stroke." The asterisk has an explanation of why Craig Calcaterra, the writer, came up with calling Posada Ringo, saying:
"Note: this is not a slam on Ringo or Posada. I love both of them. Even named a cat after Ringo once (though he may have been named after the cat in the Dada song “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow,” I’ll never tell). But let’s be honest: Jeter is Lennon, Rivera is McCartney, Pettitte is George Harrison and Posada, for all of his charms, has to be Ringo by the process of elimination.  Also: this makes Joe Girardi Pete Best!"
Ahem. I just want to note that Squawker Jon first came up with calling Posada "Ringo" in May of 2006, back when Bernie Williams, not Andy Pettitte, was on the team. Jon first used it during our inaugural season of Subway Squawkers, and we got a lot of positive response from our readers because of it. Since then, both Jon and I have run that joke in this blog dozens of times over the years.

The thing is, Posada's greatest years were from 2000-2007. He didn't even become the starting catcher until 1998, and Girardi still shared part of the role with him for '98 and '99. Due to Posada getting that later start, his contributions to the four rings just aren't the same. At any rate, both Jon and I just think that the whole Core Four stuff leaves out some very valid contributions from other important contributors in the dynasty era. Like David Cone, Bernie Williams, and Paul O'Neill, to name three. They were just as "core" to the late 90s as anybody else.

One other note: there is no way Girardi is Pete Best -- he contributed to three rings, for goodness sake!

What do you think? Tell us about it!

1 comment:

Uncle Mike said...

I've wondered about this for a while. Remember the commercial (was it Adidas?) with Bernie playing guitar and O'Neill drums? I said then, all they needed was to teach Tino to play bass and make Derek the heart-throb frontman, and they were all set.

I've also said that the real reason Jorge is "Ringo" is because of the nose and the ears.

But considering how many guys were in that core, perhaps a better reference would be to a Big Band, from the McCarthy/Gehrig/Dickey/DiMaggio/Ruffing/Gomez years.