Jorge Posada is one of the finest ball players to ever wear pinstripes. He has a storied career -- 274 career home runs, 1,063 RBI, 1,661 runs scored. 17 seasons of loyalty to the New York Yankees and one of the "core-four" that has brought so many great post-season moments to Yankees fans. And that should be respected. But Jorge Posada doesn't belong anywhere on the 2011 postseason roster. It's the tough part about sports, but games aren't won on nostalgia. They are won in the here and now. When it comes down to it, Posada is a part of the past, and not the present or future.
Posada has had a large amount of success in his career as a hitter and has proven clutch in many different instances, but for the 2011 MLB post-season, Posda would be a waste of a roster spot. There is simply nothing Posada can do in the post-season that would augment the Yankees chance to meaningfully compete for an appearance in the World Series.
What are the possible reasons the Yankees would consider for any fringe roster player that they wouldn't consider for Posada? Obviously pinch-running is a no-go. But what else could they consider for Posada? Catching experience? The fact that he's a switch hitter? Pinch-hitting? Veteran leadership? These are the reasons to consider Posada, and he doesn't measure up in any of these categories.
Posada has had a fair share of clutch hits in his career, but this year he has just been an awful hitter for the entire season. He is batting a paltry .239 with a .316 OBP. He's been especially terrible as a right-handed batter, where he has hit .094 for the season, which means the Yankees would only consider him vs right-handed pitching (or as a left-handed batter). Who is he going to pinch-hit for? What right-handed batter in the Yankee lineup is Posada taking out of any game? Jeter? Arod? Martin? No, no, and no.
On top of that Posada is only 30-for-139 in his career as a pinch-hitter. (http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/posadjo01-bat.shtml). He's also a double playwaiting to happen. Posada has had a lot of big clutch hits in his career, which is tough to overlook, but he's not the same player he's been for his career so that can't be an expectation.
Catching Experience and Leadership?
An injury to Russell Martin could be devastating for the Yankees because backup catcher Francisco Cervelli may miss the post-season with a concussion and that would leave only the unproven, yet promising Austin Romine as the backup catcher. Still Girardi and the front office shouldn't let the fear of injury to Martin dictate how they use their post-season roster.
The leadership is something that matters much less with this Yankees team compared to a team like the Tampa Bay Rays of two years ago. The Yankees have one of the greatest leaders in sports in Derek Jeter first off, and second this team is largely veteran. On top of that Posada's leadership has always been heavily scrutinized. His leadership should not be a large factor in whether or not Posada makes the post-season roster.
Lastly, Opportunity costs
Having Posada on the post-season roster means someone else is off the roster. Who are those other fringe players who might not make the post-season roster? And if Posada is going to be on the roster that means the Yankees might try to give him meaningful at-bats, which is also depressing. The post-season is a time to shine and the Yankees owe Jesus Montero the opportunity to shine in the playoffs. The Yankees need to give Montero, who is a part of the future of this franchise meaningful experience in the post-season this year ... a year where they don't realistically have the pitching depth and talent to win the World Series. Andruw Jones and Miguel Cabrera are just two examples of young players who got an opportunity to shine in the post-season and launched very successful MLB careers. Montero is batting .313 with a .383 OBP and .931 OPS. Sure, it's September pitching, but let's see what he can do when the stakes are high. Who wants to see Posda wasting the opportunities that might otherwise be given to Montero or another young player? Not me.
Posada was a great Yankee for man years, but this is not a team that needs his veteran presence to impact how will it will do in the postseason. And if the Yankees are not relying on Posada's experience, catching ability, or clutch ability to make the postseason roster what choice do they have other than to thank Posada for a nice career and show him the door? Come back for Old Timers Day and Jorge Posada day. It was nice knowing you. That's the nature of sports. It's sad, but the game keeps moving on.