The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Yankees at the break: Designated hitter

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jul 13, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The Yankees made the decision this winter. Jorge Posada had been their catcher for more than a decade, but injuries were adding up – and so were the years – and so Posada’s days behind the plate were finished. In the final year of his contract, Posada made the transition to full-time designated hitter.

First half
Not sure there’s much sense rehashing the whole thing because I’m guessing you know the story. By mid-May, it wasn’t only Posada’s days as a catcher that seemed over. His days as an everyday player also seemed to be quickly coming to an end. He was bumped to ninth in the order, frustration boiled over, he asked out of the lineup and he’s been a better hitter ever since. Posada hasn’t bounced back to his all-star form, but he’s become a productive hitter in the bottom half of the Yankees lineup.

Second half
Wouldn’t have said this two months ago, but at this point it seems Posada will remain the Yankees everyday DH through the rest of the season. Obviously Alex Rodriguez will get some DH starts once he’s off the disabled list, but Posada has become productive enough to keep getting regular at-bats. It wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Yankees if Posada could regain some of that early season power.

The minors
Sometimes you set up a format for posts like this, and then realize that one category doesn’t really apply to a certain position. Jesus Montero is the prospect that’s most often mentioned as the Yankees DH of the future, but the Yankees don’t develop any real prospect strictly as a DH. The Yankees have minor league hitters. They all play a position. They all could be a designated hitter at some point. Some of them are good. Some of them are bad. Let’s move on.

One question
How often should Rodriguez DH when he gets back?
Joe Girardi has tried to give Rodriguez and Derek Jeter occasional DH starts all season, but now that both have been injured this season – and now that Eduardo Nunez has proven he can be a productive big league hitter – he might be tempted to give the left side of his infield a few more half days off. Of course, that would be even easier if Eric Chavez were healthy again.

The future
Should be interesting. The Yankees won’t necessarily want to kick Posada out of the organization, but it’s clear that they no longer see him as a catcher, and that DH spot might be better used to give veteran players a breather or to give Jesus Montero regular at-bats. They might be able to construct a roster that has room for Posada, but they might also decide it’s time to say thank you and move on.

Associated Press photo




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