The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

In defense of Jorge Posada

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Jun 15, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

After reading my e-mails for the last few days and looking at some comments on the blog, I was surprised to learn that Jorge Posada apparently doesn’t know how to catch.

Unlike the very wise Jose Molina and the very energetic Francisco Cervelli, all Posada apparently does is swipe at pitches and argue with the pitcher.

Enough of this nonsense. The Yankees won three World Series championships with Jorge Posada as their regular catcher and made the playoffs every year with him catching. Then what happened last season? Posada barely played and the Yankees went home in October.

Was that why? I can’t prove that. No more so than anybody can prove that Posada is the reason A.J. Burnett can’t throw strikes.

The catcher calls the pitch. Or as Posada likes to say, “I suggest a pitch.” It’s up to the pitcher to execute that pitch or throw the pitch he wants. The catcher at that point is there to make sure it doesn’t roll to the backstop.

The idea that a catcher can regularly steal strikes by framing a pitch is largely a myth according to Molina. “Maybe once or twice a game,” he said. “Depends on the umpire.”

According to Molina, the umpires are judging where the ball crosses the plate, not where the catcher’s glove is.

Posada is a strong-willed guy and his relationship with the pitchers is not always a tea party. He got into a fight with El Duque Hernandez one day and certain guys (Mike Mussina, for instance) didn’t want to throw to him.

But Roger Clemens always wanted to. He and Andy Pettitte have had a lot of success together. And Mariano Rivera will tell anybody who asks what he thinks of Posada and his ability to focus a pitcher.

Joba Chamberlain laughed the other day when we asked him about his bickering with Posada during his last start. “I probably should stop thinking so much,” he said. “That’s when I get in trouble.”

I will say this: When Molina comes off the DL, the Yankees should seriously consider keeping Cervelli around as a third catcher. That would enable Posada to DH more often. Cervelli is also fast enough to be used a pinch runner on occasion. I can’t imagine how Cervelli would not be more useful than Angel Berroa.

But Posada is the catcher. When he is catching, his offense gives them a huge advantage at that position. When he is the DH, that advantage is lessened. Their best lineup is when Posada is catching.

There have been some rocky moments this season. But let’s not forget that the Yankees won a lot of of games over a lot of years with Posada catching. He didn’t forget how.




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