The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


The long-term question of long-term contracts

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on May 16, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Free agency is about more than money. It’s about years. A long-term contract means stability for a player.

It means commitment for a team.

For better or worse — for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health — the Yankees have committed themselves to some of the biggest names in baseball. Long-term contracts have become nearly unavoidable with the game’s superstars (it’s not only the Yankees who have signed longer-than-advisable deals to land the biggest names) and those long-term contracts create situations like the one the Yankees are experiencing with Jorge Posada.

“We’re a unique organization because we’ve been in a position to be able to retain some unbelievable legends for this franchise,” Brian Cashman said. “And you pay honor to that at all times, but we also have to honor the 2011 season or whatever season you’re playing, and that at times can conflict with what people have done in the past. You have to do what’s best for your team in the present, and sometimes that puts you in difficult circumstances, and then you have to deal with them the best you can, all parties involved.

“You don’t have a clear road map, so it can be very combustible, because you’re in a very large media market with a lot of people with a lot of pride, and sometimes job descriptions can conflict and create a situation that can get dicey at times.”

The past two days, Joe Girardi has been asked just how long he can stick with Posada — at any spot in the lineup — if he keeps hitting .165. Understandably, Girardi has deflected the question as something to be answered only if necessary.

Fair enough, but obviously it’s a question that will loom over this team as long as Posada struggles. And it’s a question that could continue to loom as other high-profile Yankees play into the later years of their long-term deals.

“The reality of it is, my job is to manage to win today,” Girardi said. “And I have to deal with that. And I try to show respect, and I try to show sensitivity and truly care about my players, and that’s the things that I have to balance, and that’s not always easy because players always think they can still do it at the same level or today’s going to be the day that it turns around for me. If they didn’t think that, they wouldn’t have been successful in their career, so that’s not always easy. And I’ve told my players on a number of occasions, I’m doing what I think is best at the time. I would never do anything to try to purposely hurt a player or to embarrass a player or to take playing (time).

“I’m doing what I think is the best at that time, and that’s what I’m hired to do.”

Associated Press photo

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