Mets may force Yanks’ hand with Posada

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For the first 15 days following the World Series, free agents are allowed to talk to and negotiate with only their former teams. That, however, doesn’t stop interested teams from using other means — like the media — to express their interest. And that’s just what the Mets are doing in their pursuit of Jorge Posada.

Both The New York Post and Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal are reporting that the Mets are prepared to go all-in in their effort to land the services of the Yankees’ All Star catcher. From The Post:

The Mets have interest in Posada, the longtime Yankee catcher who filed for free agency on Monday and who would fill a position of uncertainty for the club. Paul Lo Duca has filed for free agency as well. Though Lo Duca’s agent, Andrew Mongelluzzi, said yesterday the Mets have an interest in re-signing him, he is no lock to return. Either way, Posada is a more accomplished option…

The tricky issue with the Mets and Posada is that the Yankees will bid for the backstop, who made $12 million this past year. They’re expected to offer him a three-year deal in the range of $40 million, and they almost certainly won’t be the only other team in the hunt either, as the Marlins could be a surprise candidate. Posada loves the Yankees – he’s been with them since debuting in 1995 – but does like New York, meaning the Mets could be viable if he doesn’t return to The Bronx.

Right now, the Mets are talking with Lo Duca, but it’s clear that Posada is the superior catcher. Now, while the Yanks are probably going to offer Posada a three-year deal with a performance-based option, if they don’t wrap it up before those 15 days are over, the Mets could jump in with an offer that just might break the bank. And that is our Jorge Posada Doomsday scenario.

What happens if the Mets offer Posada a guaranteed four- or even five-year deal at $15 million a year? It’s not out of the realm of possibilities. Posada would be a big name for that team, and the Mets certainly have the money.

At that point, it will be hard for the Yanks to justify a counter-offer. Posada turns 37 next year and is coming off a career year. For a catcher, that’s incredibly unlikely. His career line of .277/.381/.479 makes him one of the game’s best catchers over the last decade and a perennially underrated Yankee, but the Yanks, DH or no DH, shouldn’t pony up $13-15 million for his services when he’s past the age of 40. If the Mets are willing to assume that risk, the Yanks may have to roll the dice on finding another catcher.

Hopefully, it won’t come to this. Hopefully, the Yankees will offer Jorge Posada a deal he likes and wants to sign. In my opinion, Posada will be back in the Bronx, but the Mets lurk. As much as we want to, we can’t ignore them on this, another day of the tumultuous Yankee offseason.

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  • The Scout

    The Yankees need to pay Posada whatever it takes to keep him in pinstripes, period. There is no viable catching prospect in the minors who will be ready to assume full-time catching duties for at least 3 years — the good ones are in the low minors today. Yes, that means you’ll pay for a year or more of Posada at a diminished level of performance. But as I’ve said before, that is what the current market dictates.

  • Relaunch

    3 years is the max. And pay him whatever he wants logic is just dumb.

  • brxbmrs

    I agree Relaunch, I hope Jorge comes back, but there comes a point where you have to let go – especially with the Yanks having a good chance of being a real transition team.

    I do think Posada could be worth 3 years 40+ mil if they split his time behind the plate by having him catch 90-100 games a year and use him at DH and 1st.

    Yanks need to clear out Matsui and Giambi to allow that to happen.

    • Relaunch

      Yea but why does everyone think he will be good at 1st? Look at Piazza at first. Look at how many past balls Posada has yearly (yes i know a grounder to 1st is differen). My point is, its not an automatic that he will be good or even decent at 1st. He could worse than Giambi for all we know.

      • brxbmrs

        No guarantee he’s good at 1st, but I did see him play it a few times before – and it was many years ago.

        Piazza was already in decline – if anyone thinks he lost all that weight after that telling grade 3 groin tear by doing yoga, then they need a reality check.

        In short, Posada isn’t Piazza, he’s healthy and in good shape – I think he could play the position

  • LBA Prequel

    At the very least, this makes the re-signing of Molina vital, as we know he’s got decent defense behind the dish. The Yankees should try to re-sign Posada, but not pull out all the stops. Let’s be honest here – he’s not going to repeat his numbers from this past season, his game calling skills are questionable (making the alleged “value” I keep hearing from people in keeping him to help out the young guys irrelevant) and he doesn’t get along with his pitchers, and he’s going to be 40+ by the time he gets out of his deal. That, coupled with the hole in his swing…? If you want to head to Queens, go right ahead Jorge.

    I’d much rather stick with Molina and find another option than be forced into a contract with Posada where he’s still playing here past age 40.

    • Count Zero

      A-freakin-men! I think your point that “his game calling skills are questionable” is the key with a young pitching staff. I honestly wouldn’t be terribly upset if he walks.

      No way I offer him more than three years. Even that probably exacerbates the DH/1B logjam in 2010.

  • Yankee Fan in Chicago

    An NL team would be idiotic to offer Po such a deal. The guy’s never been a great fielder, and should be getting significant time at dh fairly soon.

    Then again, next to Piazza Posada is Johnny Bench behind the plate.

  • Travis

    I’d offer three years at $39 million and call it a day. Any more than three years is inviting huge trouble.

  • Jamal G.

    As much as I love Jorge Posada and it would hurt us in more ways than one if he left, I think a platoon of Ramon Castro and Jose Molina would be a viable backup plan. We’ve seen that Molina can hold his own with the bat and Castro had an unbelievable power stroke this year as the backup to Lo Duca with the Mets, knocking 11 HRs in just 144 ABs. Granted he had career highs with a .285/11/31 line but he is only 31 years old and with more playing time maybe he can put up some decent offensive numbers.

  • Jeteupthemiddle

    I’d give Posada a four year deal.

    Well, I would give a 3 year deal with a 4th year option that automatically vests based on games started at catcher during the 3rd season.

    Honestly, even if the Yankees decide that Posada would suck as a 1B, the DH spot will have an opening in the upcoming years….no reason not to have Posada for a longer period of time with the idea that he could be the DH eventually…if necessary.

    Giambi leaves after 2008, and Matsui leaves after 2009.

  • Stephen

    I would maybe agree with people that this deal isn’t necessary if the Yanks hadn’t just lost the best offensive player in baseball. The Yanks already have plenty of holes to fill this offseason don’t make catcher another spot. Now I know that Posada is getting old and is unlikely to replicate his numbers from this season, but the Yanks can’t afford to lose his production in addition to A-Rod’s offense. If they can get a deal done for someone like Miggy Cabrera, then it may be a different situation.

  • Mark

    The Yanks shouldn’t compete with more than 3 yrs. It’ll be 2 yrs till their back on top (optimistically.) He’s strictly a short term investment.

  • barry

    something in me says that jorge has alot of yankee loyalty and I don’t see him leaving I’d bet a 3 year witha 1 year club option

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