Jorge Posada has finally admitted what everyone else already knew -- that his 17-year tenure with the New York Yankees is over.
"It's not gonna happen," Posada said Wednesday night at a Manhattan function for The Jorge Posada Foundation. "I don't think there is even a percentage of a chance that I can come back."
Posada, 40, says he has not decided if he wants to continue to play. Best guess, though, is there aren't likely to be many teams in the market for an aging player who is little more than an adequate left-handed hitting designated hitter at this point. Chances are good that Posada's career is also over.
If so, 2011 won't be remembered as Jorge's finest hour. He hit only .235 (.092 right-handed) with 14 homers and 44 RBI. He refused to play when manager Joe Girardi put him last in the batting order. He went long stretches during the second half of the season without being in the lineup at all. Still, he hit a team-high .429 during the American League Division Series.
Whatever happened in 2011, and whatever happens going forward, Posada deserves to be remembered as a great Yankee, an important player who was the starting catcher for four World Series-winning teams.
Where does Posada rank in terms of the greatest Yankee catchers of all time? I believe he is third on the franchise's all-time list behind Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey, and just in front of Thurman Munson and Elston Howard.
Yes, I put him in front of the beloved Munson. simply because the fatal plane crash that took his life at the age of 32 robbed Munson of the longevity Posada has achieved.
Is Posada Hall of Fame worthy? Some might say yes, but I think he falls just short. Cooperstown is not supposed to be the Hall of Very Good, which Posada was. It is supposed to be the Hall of Great, which Posada was not.
Using the comparative Hall of Fame statistics on Posada's Baseball Reference page, the numbers bear out that Posada is just below what would be considered Hall of Fame standards.
For a player comparison let's use former Met catcher Gary Carter, enshrined into Cooperstown in 2003.
Carter played 19 years to Posada's 17 at this point, out-homering him 324-275. Carter has four 100+ RBI seasons to one for Posada. Posada has a slightly better batting average (.273-.262), OPS (.848-.773) and Slugging Percentage (.474-.439). Carter, though, has three Gold Glove awards while Posada's defense was a question mark throughout much of his career.
Yankee fans should remember fondly what Posada has done during his career. Time, however, marches on and it is time for the Yankees to move on without their long-time catcher.