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 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.
In 2007, when Alex Rodriguez was having one of his several MVP seasons, another player was having an outstanding renaissance of their own. This player is of course Jorge Posada. In his walk year, Posada hit .338 with a .426 OBP, 20 homeruns and 90 RBI's. That he hit .338 is impressive by itself, but even more so when you consider that he was a 36 year old catcher at the time, an age when catchers typically decline. There were high expectations for Posada coming into 2008 coming off of his career highs, and a newly signed 4 year $52.4 million contract that would keep him catching in pinstripes through the age of 40. But things quickly turned for the worse, when he came down with a dead arm in spring training. Not much attention was given to it, but it would appear that this was the beginning of what would later amount to multiple tears on the throwing side of his body. Posada lasted 168 at bats, and by the end of this stretch could not catch and was used mainly as a DH. He finally agreed to go in for surgery to repair his shoulder back in July, ending his season, and beginning his time table to return in spring '09.
Posada has been working out this winter and by his own account is 75% there. He's likely to have his swing back before his throw, but there's no doubt both will be effected. The question will be how long it takes for Posada to get up to strength, and then the question becomes how long he can hold it. He's never had a surgery, and has never been on the DL. Its difficult to determine how he will recover from injury, but Posada is tough, and we'll likely see him playing whether he's 100% or not.
My Fearless Prediction:
The Yankees will lean on Molina and Kevin Cash to give Posada a break from catching. I expect by mid-season, Posada will DH every few days to help his arm out. His hitting should return to his career averages, but I suspect he may have a slow start and may have a loss of power especially in April and May. With that, I would say a .275 average with 15 homeruns, and a .380 OBP would be what I predict for him. However, I leave myself open to be amazed.
Little Known Posada Fact:
Posada once lost his glove in the clubhouse, and caught Mike Mussina for 4 innings bare handed only to notice that Jeter was wearing it at short as a prank. They had a good laugh about it, and respected each others gangster.