Next up in our position by position debate, we are going to review the catchers. If you are just catching on (no pun intended) we are beginning a debate on who has the better player at each position between the Red Sox and the Yankees. To be clear, this is not a debate on who has the better team, just the better player at each position. A debate on who has the better team would require much more than a position by position evaluation.
Red Sox Catcher
Jason Varitek has been a veteran presence for the Red Sox, and has handled the host of pitchers on the roster very well. Last season he caught a host of rookies and veterans (except Wakefield) and in my opinion handled them well. Varitek however, is on a decline. Last season he batted .255 with 17 homeruns and 68 RBI's. He is reaching the age where catchers tend to break down, and Varitek has the knee surgeries to prove it. The question for him is will he be able to reverse the course of aging next season, or will he continue on his slide?
Jorge Posada had a monster season in the walk year of his contract. He batted over .300 for the first time in his career, hitting .338 with 20 homeruns, and 90 RBI's. I think one of the more telling stats from Posada's season last year was his 42 doubles, which tell me that his legs are still under him. In comparison, Varitek had 15. Although Posada is a year older than Varitek and should be in his own decline, he has a few things working for him. He started his career as a second baseman but switched to catcher in the minors. Varitek, as far as I know, was a career catcher. Further more, Posada shared his time behind the plate with Joe Girardi through 1999, which limited the number of innings he played there. Posada has never been on the DL.
Winner: Yankees. Posada will begin his decline during this new contract, but I can't imagine it will all happen next season. He's coming off a career year and I expect him to be productive. On the other hand, I can't see Varitek making a big come back after having a rough (by his standards) offensive season last year. They both had a .994 fielding percentage for whatever that's worth.