Jorge Posada has had to fight through more adversity this season than throughout his entire career combined and now finds himself in a brand new situation, fighting for a spot on the New York Yankees postseason roster. Not many people would have imagined Posada would be in this position, even with the fact he lost his job as the starting catcher before the season.
What has made Posada a question mark for the post season is the emergence of Jesus Montero, the chosen one, as the new Yankees designated hitter. This has resulted in many fans and "experts" trying to find exactly where Posada fits Many fans just believe he HAS to be on the roster due to the fact he is part of the core four. While I do believe he belongs on the roster I do not believe ANYONE has to be on the roster. But for those who can't find anyplace where he fits that I do contest.
Many people have argued Posada would essentially be a cheerleader just taking the place of another player who deserves it more. Why does this have to be the case? There are very valid reasons for why Posada SHOULD play and not just one at-bat per series.
It seems when discussing why Posada should not be given a roster spot the opinions revolve around Andruw Jones, Eric Chavez, and of course Montero getting at-bats over Posada. Montero as we all know has yet to have a postseason AB but we will get into his inexperience later. Andrew Jones, who to me deserves a spot less than Posada since Montero has made him entirely obsolete, hasn't played a playoff game since 2005. Eric Chavez only has a year advantage over Jones. Playing in his last series in 2006, Chavez, has a postseason average of .222 average and has only played in six playoff series in his career.
Posada does not boast a high postseason average, .241, but his experience cannot be ignored. Jorge has played in 120 playoff games for the Yankees and as his AL East-clinching hit showed he knows how to "act like he has been there." Also for all the people talking about Montero batting exclusively against lefties and Chavez against righties, where does this give the Yankees an advantage. Chavez average against righties is actually lower than Jorge's, so that argument holds no ground.
Unless some unforeseen collapse takes place over the next six games the Yankees will go into the AL playoffs as the No. 1 seed and despite all the question marks surrounding them having a definite chance to represent the AL in the World Series. Montero has hit .500 vs lefties since being called up, so there is no question the Yankees are not taking a huge risk having him DH vs lefties in the playoffs, but he is hitting .200 against righties and at times has looked downright silly. There is no reason for the Yankees to force Montero into gaining experience this year in the playoffs. He has been in the MLB for less than a month and being a part-time player will not stunt his growth for the future.
If the Yankees believe they have a legitimate shot at the World Series, and with the Yankees ego you know they do, why would they test things out in the playoffs? The playoffs is a time where teams field their best team and the best team is usually one with experience. Posada has hit .272 vs righties this season, which is even better than his 2010 average vs righties, so taking into account Montero's short sample struggles vs righties and his lack of playoff experience giving him time over Posada in these situations does not make sense.
Nostalgia CAN Win Games
Call it nostalgia, magic, or just plain dumb-luck the Yankees, and more importantly the "Core-Four" have been a part of some amazing baseball over the years. Who can forget the moments that ensued over the 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000 Yankees that saw them win four World Series Titles in five seasons. Their was midnight magic, Mr. November, and the ever so improbable walk-off home runs. We have seen other teams win on memorable moments, calling Mr. Buckner, but the Yankees seem to always win on moments full of nostalgia. Even in 2009 who would have ever predicted Hideki Matsui would do what he did in the World Series when it was a known that he would not return to the Yankees in 2010?
If the Yankees neglect to include Posada on the 2011 postseason roster they would be missing out on a chance for him to add to this Yankee playoff magic. Only certain Yankees are capable of performing this magic and after his hit on Wednesday it is obvious Posada is definitely one of those players. Posada is also one of the guys the other Yankees rally behind, just recall Mark Teixeira's reaction when Jorge was put in to catch, and I believe him being on the roster and in the lineup will add a spark the Yankees will need to win this postseason.