What’s your highest bid for Jorge?

Yanks interested in Johan Santana
Three years, $40 million in Mo's "ballpark"

Free agency officially begins on Tuesday, and in all likelihood Jorge Posada will remain unsigned at that point. The Yankees have made what amounts to a very generous offer for a catcher entering his age-36 season: three years and around $40 million.

However, we’re seeing a unique trend from Jorge. While it appeared in 2005 that he was entering his decline phase (he posted his lowest OBP and SLG since 1999), he has surged over the past two years, and miraculously posted the best season of his career in 2007.

Unsurprisingly, Jorge has all but rejected the Yankees offer. He claims he’s “more determined than ever to test the market,” and the market will likely bear a four-year bidder in the $50 to $55 million range. The Mets are likely to make such a bid, which puts the Yankees in an uncomfortable position.

We’ve discussed it many times, but with the market opening up in a couple of days it seems appropriate to discuss again. Do you up your three-year, $40 million offer to match or exceed a four-year, say $53 million deal?

I’d say yes, but under a few conditions, the paramount of which being that if Jorge doesn’t produce in the later two years of the contract, he sits. My main fear regarding Jorge is that he’ll finally enter his decline years and drop off dramatically. It doesn’t seem likely that this will come in the next two years, but with a catcher you never know. It’s tough to sit your $15 million annual investment on the bench, but if they can do it with Jason Giambi, they should do it with Jorge.

In that scenario, you’d be essentially paying him $50-some-odd million for two years of work. It sounds absurd, but it’s not like the Yankees are paupers. They have the money, and they might as well use it to keep Jorge around while we wait for Jesus Montero and Austin Romine to develop.

However, if his contract is going to keep him in games whether he produces or not, I can’t advocate a fourth year. A third is enough of a gamble. How many catchers do you know who produced at high level at this age? I can think of one off the top of my head: Carlton Fisk. But we’re talking a Hall of Famer here, and while Jorge has been excellent, he’s a member of a far less exclusive club: The Hall of Very Good.

But hey, Fisk did put up a line of .285/.378/.451 in 452 at bats as a 42-year-old. So it can happen. I’m just not sure I’m willing to bet $50 million on it.

Yanks interested in Johan Santana
Three years, $40 million in Mo's "ballpark"
  • craig

    I love Posada, but I don’t give him 4 years….3 years Max. Even if it’s 3 for 45…I would not add the 4th year if I were the Yankees.

  • E-ROC

    I wouldn’t give Posada 4 guaranteed years. I’d give him 3 years and a mutual option for the 4th year. I don’t see Posada putting those types of numbers at 39 and 40, let alone play catcher. If he doesn’t accept, I’d sign Molina and Castro. They aren’t world beaters, but they’ll do something useful. Or maybe sign JD Closser and trade for Carlos Ruiz. Basically, I’m rooting for Posada to return rather than going the other route. Hopefully, Rivera re-signs too.

  • mehmattski

    Well, if the Mets sign Posada, doesn’t it mean that Paul LoDuca is available? He’s not the greatest of guys, but he’s better than Molina and Castro…

    • http://www.sportsmusings.wordpress.com JCP

      LoDuca’s OPS dropped 100 points last year in his age 35 season. A scary thought to think of him starting for the Yankees.

  • batty

    Let him walk and resign Nieves. Or that other really great catcher who’s on the market. Oh yeah, there aren’t any – I forgot.

    Pay the man. Really – he’s pissed off they wouldn’t talk to him at the beginning of the season, he’s pissed off how they treated Torre. This is a pissed off tax he’s putting up – too bad for the Yanks but I can’t blame him. Sign him for 4 – even if he declines he can still be teaching the younger ones a thing or two.

  • Jon

    I’d take Castro over Lo Duca in a heartbeat, even if he wasn’t going to be half the price.

  • Ron

    I’d go as high as 3 years @ $45 mil with a club option for $10 mil and a $2-3 mil buy-out. If that doesn’t do it, let him walk. We are seeing first hand how an onerous contract on a non-productive player hurts the club; let’s not make the same mistake again.

  • http://mvn.com/milb-yankees EJ

    I’d grossly inflate a 3-year deal if I had to. It’s hard to see Posada being an asset after 2010. 3 years / 48 million.

    • steve (different one)

      i’m with EJ. more dollars less years. this should be the yankees’ philosophy on any player over 30.

    • http://www.sportsmusings.wordpress.com JCP

      if he’s a league average hitting backup catcher who doesn’t kill you defensively, he’s an asset. not a 15M dollar asset, but a real asset nonetheless

  • 218F

    My limit:

    3 yrs 13.5 million per
    4th year team option for 15 million with a 5 million buyout
    4th year option becomes vested if Jorge catches 100 games in the third year or if he finishes in the top 10 in MVP voting.

    • Count Zero

      That’s not bad…

      I’m with EJ too – I would go 3x$16 before I would go 4x$13.

    • http://www.sportsmusings.wordpress.com JCP

      at that price limit Jorge’s playing in Queens next year, not the Bronx

  • Rob

    Play the game the way they did with Bernie in 1998 (?) and the Sox – just match the highest offer. If that’s what the market decides – so be it.

  • steve (different one)

    also, no love for Cervelli?

  • Rob

    By the way, if anyone is Fisk 2.0, it’s Jorge. Dude has never been DLed (right?) and for a catcher that’s amazing. Shoot, he tore that hamstring in 2006 and was back out there a few days later. He doesn’t complain, he just does his job.

    Pay the man.

  • Tripp

    Chances are he won’t be behind the plate in a few years anyways and will be the full time DH. Matsui and Damon are gone in two years and Giambi will be long gone by then. I’d give him 4 years and 13-14 million with the concenses that he will be putting in time at 1b and DH for the final 2 years.

  • http://nyyu.blogspot.com Mike

    Base: 3 years, 45 mil. 20 mil in ’08, 15 mil in ’09, 10 mil in ’10. Then incentives that could make the whole deal worth 50 mil.

    • http://www.sportsmusings.wordpress.com JCP

      what’s the point in front-loading the contract? to make Posada happy?

  • Alex

    pay him $1 more than arod gets, easy as that.

  • tony from the bronx

    posada is not worth the 4th year.He is not that good at recieving or framing pitches.He had a career year in 2007.he will not come close to those numbers again.How manny vet.pitchers dont like pitching to him.El Duque,R.J.,Mussina,even Andy gets fustrated pitching to him.If he wants the 4th year the Yanks should sign one of the FA catchers to a 2yr deal and bring up who ever is close defensively to the majors maybe Pj.

  • Rob_in_CT

    3/45 with either a club option or some sort of vesting option (if he plays enough in the 3rd year, he gets a 4th) for a 4th.

    He’s an excellent player, and even though we all know he will not replicate his 2007, he will still be far, far, far better than any other available options for next year and the year after that. It gets more and more dubious in the 3rd and 4th years, of course, but he’s irreplaceable. If you don’t bring him back, you admit you’re not going to the playoffs in 2008 (and maybe not 2009 either). I have cautiously optimistic hope for Frankie Cervelli too, but even if he pans out he won’t be ready for another couple of years.

    Posada’s a home-grown Yankee, and still one of the best players on the team. I can’t imagine him in another uniform. Pay him.

    • http://www.sportsmusings.wordpress.com JCP

      Sadly I have to agree – you have to pay the man. The Yankees hands are tied here, unless they want to live with a Michael Barrett/Unknown Player type platoon.

      As for years and money, the Yankees would seemingly be better off giving more years for roughly equal money – i.e. 4 yrs 55 instead of three years 48 because Posada will likely be useful as a backup catcher even as a 39 year old, and the more years they give, the more the contract can be back-loaded, meaning the Yanks could pay a significant portion of those final years by using the interest made on money not paid to him on the front end. That is, if Posada goes for that.

  • http://www.sportsmusings.wordpress.com JCP

    If it is uncovered that Barrett was injured this year and that he’d probably be back to full health next year, then it’s possible he could end up with a better year than Posada in ’08. A lot of contingencies there, but it’s worth some though, especially if the Mets go bonkers and offer 5/70

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Barrett is a Type A, though. I don’t think he’s worth surrendering a pick.

      • http://www.sportsmusings.wordpress.com JCP

        only if he’s offered arbitration, which my guess is that he won’t be

  • Tripp

    If the Mets offer the rumored 5/70 then Minaya is an idiot. No 37 year old deserves a 5 year contract. That’s just insane!

  • brxbmrs

    Highest I go is 4 yrs 60 mil – sign by Sunday or cya.

    I think Jorge could play some 1st and DH.

    Mo gets 3 for 45-48.

    We just don’t need the uncertainty, and keeping them life long Yanks is worth something.

    I don’t believe in good money after bad, but I think both will be productive and there just aren’t any good options out there.

    Yanks have 64 mil committed for 09 and very little $ committed in 2010 (something like 30 mil – most Jete’s salary and a 4 mil for Igawful), they can afford to take a chance on Mo and Jorge.

  • Tano

    This one is a no-brainer.

    Give him one dollar more (at least), and as many years as his next best offer.

    There are no other remotely comparable options.

  • Batty

    One other thought – people keep talking about having onerous contracts weighing down the club. We’re not talking about giving him 25 million a year – we’re talking about giving him a little bit more than Pavano for someone who has been one of the best offensive catchers in the game.