Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 27 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training, and 2 we believe should be on the active roster but won't be for one reason or another. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.
Catcher Jorge Posada
Its hard to think of the Yankees without Jorge Posada. Although Jeter is the Captain, and A-Rod's the highest paid, Posada carries his own respect in the clubhouse. Last season the Yankee catcher had a career year, and it was a good thing since it was the walk year of his contract. Posada batted .338 last season, which was the first time he ever batted above .300. He slugged 20 homeruns and legged out 42 doubles while knocking in 90 runs. With Jason Varitek on a sharp decline and Pudge Rodriguez losing all the pop in his bat, Jorge Posada stands as the best offensive veteran catcher in the game. Last season was a tough one physically for Posada. For the first half of the season, back up catcher Wil Nieves did not inspire enough confidence in Torre to be used regularly, and Posada picked up those innings. When Nieves did start, he was almost always replaced by Posada in later innings. It was not until the Yankees acquired Jose Molina that Posada could take a day off, and not end up having to work anyway.
My Fearless Prediction
Entering the first year of his 4-year $52.4 million dollar contract, it's hard to believe that he will suddenly start feeling his age (he turns 37 in August) and stop producing the way he has in the last few years. Posada has never been on the DL, which is both a good and a bad thing. On the one hand it says he's durable, but on the other it says that he's played through injuries because there is no way that a catcher can catch for over 10 years and not get injured once. One has to wonder how he will hold up. It would be difficult for Posada to bat .338 again or anywhere near it. Posada batting in the .290 range with 20 homeruns and 80+ RBI's would be my guess for him. A lot of that will also have to do with how much Girardi uses Molina. Posada is in great shape, but he will need those occasional days off to rest those legs. By the time the great Yogi Berra was Posada's age, he was playing the outfield. Posada will likely find some time at first base next season, but it may be difficult to move him there in the future. I don't think the Yankees will pass on Mark Teixeira next off season, and if they acquire him, Posada is out of the most logical position to switch a catcher to. However, that is a matter that can be dealt with when the time comes. For 2008, Posada will catch.