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.
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.