Dec
18

Jorge, on the mend, could be that missing bat

By

It’s hard to under-exaggerate just how bad the Yankee catchers were last season. In 608 plate appearances, the various folks who tried to fill in for an injured Jorge Posada hit an anemic .230 with a .290 OBP and a .335 slugging percentage. Even the most stats-phobic among us know that this is a terrible, terrible offensive line.

Overall, these Yankee catchers were the most anemic group in the AL. Their overall OPS+ was 75, worse than Boston and their All Star Catcher Jason Varitek. In fact, this votex of inoffensive offense could have single-handedly cost the Yankees a playoff spot as it was just a year ago that Jorge Posada turned in a 154 OPS+.

It is, then, with cautious optimism that I share the latest on Jorge. He is already throwing at 60 feet and feels he will be good to go once Spring Training rolls around.

Now lately, as we talked about the Yanks adding either Mark Teixeira or Manny Ramirez as their big bat, we haven’t really looked at Posada. But if the Yanks eschew Tex or ManRam, Posada’s return to the lineup might just be enough to give them that offensive edge they need in 2009.

It’s highly improbable that Posada will hit at his 2007 levels. He’s going to be playing his age 37 season in 2009, and 2007 was a career year for him. But would it be unreasonable to expect a 124 OPS+ season in line with his career averages? Could Posada turn in a .277/.380/.477? While we don’t know how his power will respond to his surgically repaired shoulder, there’s no reason to expect a steep decline for Jorge.

In 2007, Posada was responsible for 117 runs created. In 2008, Yankee catchers combined for just over 50 runs created. That swing of nearly 70 would have probably landed the Yanks into the playoff picture last year. Maybe as we talk about Teixeira and Manny, we’re just overlooking Posada. Putting Jorge back into the lineup should be a huge boost for the 2009 Yankees, and we shouldn’t forget that this winter.

Categories : Analysis

93 Comments»

  1. Brad says:

    I’d posture that being a 37 year old catcher in and of itself is a good reason to brace ourselves for a steep drop off. It’s happened to plenty of catchers before. That being said, I do think Posada will definitely perform far better than the catchers from last year, if he has the same OPS from last year over 500 PA’s I’d be happy.

    But oh man, I hope the Yanks buy/trade some offensive back up plans.

    • kimonizer says:

      Then again it is well documented that since Jorge started catching late in his career in the minors he doesn’t have the kind of mileage on his body that most catchers do and 37 might not be the same for him as it was for someone like Johnny Bench who was done catching by around age 33.

      The real question though is could he get even SLOWER than he already is?!?!?

      • jsbrendog says:

        i dont think his speed is important. he was always a rather meh defensive catcher so if he can continue his slightly above mediocre catching skills and end up somewhere in the middle between his career yr and last yrs catchers hopefully with a slight tilt towards the higher benchmark i think he will be exactly what we need. With a bounceback yr from can and an obp guy like swisher either in front or behind him the opportunity for jorge to drive in runs will be there.

        i also agree with the “mileage” point. he started catching later so his knees, etc arent shot yet. i think he combined with any of many other factors (cano bounceback, slightly above black hole production from cf, and anything given to you by matsui) will equal signing one big bat and leave roster flexibility for the future.

      • AndrewYF says:

        But, Jorge now does have a lot of mileage on him. In the majors at least, he’s caught 1390 games, and 11407 innings. That’s 9.47 seasons of 130 games caught per year, in the majors.

        He’s not special anymore.

  2. TheLastClown says:

    And, in summation, let us conclude this induction of our newest neologism to enter the Oxford English Canon of Words, by intoning thrice the word so honored, followed by the fellow for whom it was named:

    Hip-Hip
    Hip-Hip
    Hip-Hip

    Jorge

  3. BigBlueAL says:

    Still the most over-looked reason for the Yankees missing the playoffs last season, the absence of Jorge Posada.

  4. dan says:

    Even the most stats-phobic among us Donnie Baseball knows that this is a terrible, terrible offensive line.

  5. Ivan says:

    Jorge was arguebably the biggest blow to this yankee team. His leadership, toughness and his “gamer” mentality was miss.

    Offensively, oh man I don’t know how to describe how much the yanks miss Jorge. The yankees lost a catcher with a career OBP% of .380. A .380 OBP% is a terrific for a ton of players especially at the catcher spot and the yanks lost that. That’s alot of OBP% you lose with Posada. Add the power and good slug% and OPS+, you cannot replace that no way.

    With Posada, the yanks had a majority of the time a big advantage over teams at the catcher position. In 08, that was lost and in a big way and statistically was ranked the worst in the AL in production from a catcher.

    A healthy Posada can do all sorts to improve the yanks in 09.

    • kimonizer says:

      This was especially true as they took a little bit of a gamble on Melky and he ended up being another whole in the lineup. For a good chunk of the season it was like the Yankees would be playing with 7/9 of a lineup since both were so far below league average. Rallies went to the bottom of the lineup to die and it was rare that Damon or Jeter at the top had anything with which to work with once they got up since the bases were empty in front of them. That means they were less likely to see good pitches since there was no one on base and they had to expand there zone a little to try and get on base for Alex, which is never a good thing.

      It was kind of a flukey systemic collapse that I think is unlikely to happen two years in a row. It was kind of the polar opposite of those great lineups where 1-9 were potent and the rallies would keep on going and production would come from everywhere and all of the spots in the lineup supported one another.

      That is why they can be a little more coy about going after Tex/Manny because I believe that Cash thinks that when all is said and done Cano bouncing back, Matsui returning, and Jorge back behind the place will be enough to create a positive cascading effect on the lineup and cure many of the deficiencies from last year. That with much improved starting pitching and a very good young bullpen with a year of experience under its belt very well might be enough to vault us back over Boston and Tampa.

      That is why Tex or Manny would just be fabulous (but ultimately unnecssary) icing on the cake in Cash’s mind. Then again, icing is OH SO TASTY!!!

      • Dustin says:

        Good points, and well put.

      • jsbrendog says:

        after each paragraph i hada point you hadnt brought up yet and then you did in the next one. GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

      • That is why they can be a little more coy about going after Tex/Manny because I believe that Cash thinks that when all is said and done Cano bouncing back, Matsui returning, and Jorge back behind the place will be enough to create a positive cascading effect on the lineup and cure many of the deficiencies from last year….

        While I agree with you, I still maintain that adding Tex or Manny is probably 25% about our offense in 2009 and 75% about our offense in 2010, 2011, 2012, etc. etc. etc.

        Even if Jorge and Matsui bounce back, Jorge won’t bounce back forever and Hideki is gone after the year (as is Johnny Damon).

        While we rightly didn’t bring back Abreu or Giambi, that’s stil 5 key members of our offense (Abreu, Giambi, Matsui, Damon, and Jorge) who will either son be gone or soon be too old to be counted on to produce at heart-of-the-order levels. ARod, Jeter, Cano and Swisher alone (along with late-30′s Jorge Posada) does not an offense make.

        Tex or Manny are not simply needed for the present, they’re needed for the immediate future.

        • Dustin says:

          But if you’re thinking about the future of those aging players, you’re also thinking that 1B is a realistic place for Jorge to play and one of the corner OF spots for Jeter (assuming his knees hold up long-term and don’t become Matsui’s, heaven forbid).

          So to add Tex, we’d have to exceed our record payroll, which we’ve been doing every single year already, and with Damon, Matsui, and Nady coming off the books next year (if we resign anyone short-term, it’d be Nady, but for more money than we’re currently paying him), if we want to start trimming payroll next season and spend, say, $190-195 million, we’ll only be able to spend about $30 million in the free agent market to fill one or two OF positions, the DH spot, and the backup catcher role, if not more. That’s not much. If we don’t sign Tex, increase the amount we’ll be able to spend next year by another $21-23 million.

        • toad says:

          I remember a lot of rallies dying right in the middle of the order, with a K-DP sequence, or vice versa, from A-Rod and Giambi.

          Still, a lot of what is being said about Posada is true. Let’s remember that if can’t be a full-time catcher and needs to DH some times that reduces Manny’s value. He’s not quite DiMaggio or Mays in the outfield.

  6. Simon B. says:

    Yeah, I don’t think the offense this year is as pressing concern as a lot of people seem to think it is. ’08 was like a worst case scenario for almost every offensive player. Some players will rebound to the mean. Sure, it could use help, but I think it should exceed 800 runs this year as it stands, and perhaps a guy like Dunn could boost it significantly.

    In coming years, I think it is going to need some substantial help, but I’m not sold that Tex is the best longterm solution, and I’d really hate these monster contracts for anybody who’s not a really special player. (Yes, I know some people argue he is, but I really don’t think his numbers at his position justify it.) The fact of the matter, free agency really is very poor as a longterm solution unless they sign very young like Alex or Miguel Cabrera. It is immediate relief for longterm burden.

    For the time being, I think the Yankees will survive well enough on Jorge, Matsui, Damon, and Jeter, but it’s true that you can almost see the end coming for these guys. They made up part of a great offense for many years, but they’re going to have to be replaced soon. It will definitely be interesting to see how Cashman handles it. The farm system isn’t really well stocked with hitters. You hope that Austin Jackson will succeed and that would be a huge relief to get a good young hitter in CF. Other than that, the replacements aren’t that obvious or are far away. There are definitely ways to do it though, and they don’t require you to dump $200 million in the lap of a single free agent firstbaseman.

    • jsbrendog says:

      it’ll be itneresting to see what juan miranda can do when matsui goes down with an injury and he slides into the dh/1b platoon with swisher.

      Being optimistic, if miranda can hit then that gives us extreme roster flexibility this year with 2 “real” 1b as cash$ put it with swisher and miranda but miranda also has the minorleague stats (i think) to carry a dh spot and swisher can play all 3 of positions. that’s not too shabby.

      i think that if they dotn sign manny/dunn/tex then cash will pull some trade out of his ass during the season where everyone will go , WHOA, where’d that come from. (like a prince fielder [too bad doug melvin hates cash] or a ryan howard) something crazy will happen during the season, it seems to be cashman’s MO

      • Dustin says:

        I’d love to see what Miranda can do, but I’d prefer to go out and get either Ty Wigginton or Rich Aurilia to be a utility player that can play 3 or 4 infield positions and the corner OF so we don’t waste a bench spot on a guy who can only play one position (we’ll already be doing that with Molina, but he’s a valuable guy who works well with our pitchers, has great defense and a great arm to throw guys out, and is good insurance against an injury resurgence from Jorge).

      • i think that if they dotn sign manny/dunn/tex then cash will pull some trade out of his ass during the season where everyone will go , WHOA, where’d that come from. (like a prince fielder [too bad doug melvin hates cash] or a ryan howard) something crazy will happen during the season, it seems to be cashman’s MO

        Which of these options seems like the best idea to you?

        A) Spending buttloads of money for 28 year old Mark Teixeira, who is athletic and has a career wOBA of .389 and a career UZR of 20.5

        B) Trading buttloads of prospects for 24 year old Prince Fielder, who is fat and has a career wOBA of .379 and a career UZR of -25.5

        C) Trading buttloads of prospects for 29 year old Ryan Howard, who is hulking and has a career wOBA of .396 and a career UZR of 0.6

        Keep in mind that if we trade for either Howard or Fielder, we’re likely going to have to extend them to fat contracts…and that Howard is currently pulling down 10M a year in arbitration, and Fielder is 5 years younger than Tex… they could both easily ask for AAV’s HIGHER than 20M.

        It’s like the Santana v. Sabathia question – you’re going to pay them big money anyway, why not do it without trading away prospects?

        • jsbrendog says:

          right i understand, they were only examples. but at the same time we knew e needed pitching, fact. as of right now the argument for a bat is speculation. We dont know what we have exactly. so it makes mroe sense to give it a go and then attend to weaknesses as we find the out. trying to build a team on paper has gotten us nowhere. building a team once you have knowledge of what your fla iss and p,ugging it has been what made thos dynasty teams good. a bat is always available via trade. a pitcher costs mroe cause everyones always looking for pitching.

          so you go after a bat with an expiring contract or a big one already that someone else doesnt want to pay, a la david justice cecil fielder.

  7. Dave says:

    yEA SURE posada can fill the void that giambi or abreu left behind. Maybe matsui will stay healthy, maybe cano will hit over 300 next year and actually walk and maybe swisher will go back to his steady ascent before last years monumental fall. Or maybe we are asking too much of these guys. We lost two of our three biggest run producers last year while last year, we were pretty horrific offensively and that may be the sole reason we didnt make the playoffs. Now, we are going to lose two of our three biggest offensive threats, sign swisher off the worst year of his career and pray that everyone can stay healthy and cano and swisher will rise to the occasion. While its nice to be optimistic – there is a time to be realistic. If posada comes back and puts up career avg numbers – thats fantastic but we need more than that to do well next season offensively. We need to replace over 200 runs of offensive while trying to even vastly improve over that which would be around last years offense.

    Of course, i think one or two guys will awe us next season and one of them may very well be posada. But the idea of relying on four guys who last year had the worst seasons of each of their respective careers due to injury or ineffectiveness is pretty ridiculous. By the middle of the summer, a big bat will already be out of the lineup, gardner will be playing center, cano or swisher may not be bouncing back like we would have hoped and a mark teixeira, mannny signing will have looked like the smarter move. i DONT Know why anyone in the world would think we can lose abreu and giambi and essentially replace their production with guys that were useless last season and then, on top of that, think we can improve on last years numbers without signing a single bat other than swisher. Its really insane and totally illogical. yET, no more than a month ago cashman made a very similar comment.

    • Dustin says:

      We don’t need to score a certain number of runs; we don’t have to mash like we have for years until this past season. As I believe Peter Abraham said today, look what those teams of mashers did from 2001 to 2008. By contrast, look what the teams of solid hitters and solid, reliable pitchers did from ’96-2000. We did lose too many close games when our offense failed to deliver this past season. But we also gave up more runs than we likely will this season. We only need to score 162 more runs than our opponents to have a perfect season. It’s about run differential, not total runs produced, which means nothing if you don’t consider the runs we give up. Our pitching will improve, and our offense will be better even if we make no more signings except a utility guy. With Swisher at 1st and Gardner or Cabrera or a free agent like Baldelli or Taveras or a trade acquisition like Cameron or DeJesus in center, and with Nady instead of Abreu in right, we can’t be any worse defensively (except that Molina will play fewer games).

      • Rob in CT says:

        The pitching should be good, but the defense is going to hamper that, and as you say it’s all about run differential. As presently constructed, accounting for inevitable injuries & age-related declines, I don’t think this team has enough hitting. They need another bat – preferably one that can use a glove too. Hmm, who could THAT be?

        The assumption about good pitching requires that you believe Burnett will be both healthy and good, and I’m dubious about that. I trust CC and Wang. And Joba, performance-wise, but healthy is always a worry and he will top out around 150 innings. So the pitching isn’t something you should look at and say “ok, that’s gonna rock, so we can be a slightly above-average offensive team and win 95+ games.”

        • jsbrendog says:

          Outfield defense is above average and better than last yr. People have posted the numbers here countless times. Damon, statistically is s lightyly above average in lf, gardner will be above avg in cf and nady is >>>>>>abreu in rf. Jeter may regress but he also may remain consistent. Arod is a given, cano will either get better or stay average and swisher at 1b >>>>>>>>>>Giambi. the only place the defense gets worse is at catcher but jorge’s offense more than makes up for that.

          so the terrible defense thing does nto apply in my mind.

          • steve (different one) says:

            also, the pitching staff is probably going to lead the league in strikeouts.

            that’s going to take a LOT of pressure off the defense.

            don’t forget that angle to signing Burnett.

  8. Dustin says:

    You’re just now realizing this? It seems pretty obvious that even 100 games from Jorge and 145 from Matsui will vastly improve our offense over last season even if Cano doesn’t bounce back much. Plus, Damon, Matsui, and Nady in contract years and A-Rod in his post-”slump” surge. And we now have two strong additions to our rotation, another full season from Wang, 30 more innings from Joba, and at least as good a pen as we had last year (one of the best in baseball) likely throwing fewer innings? How could that not be good enough to net 9 more games, ceteris parabis? This talk of needing another bat is ridiculous.

    • Rob in CT says:

      You forget, this isn’t the 2008 offense + rebounds from Posada and Cano. This is the 2008 offense, minus Giambi and Abreu, plus possible rebounds from Posada & Cano, with everyone 1 year older (which, for most of the roster, is not a good thing).

      • jsbrendog says:

        gardner will provide mroe than melky because he at least will walk sometimes. him and swisher will more than combine for abreus loss. so that’s a wash. sureoffensively last yr giambi>>swisher, but the drop from giambi to swisher is not that great and the raise from molina to jorge is so large EVEN IF JORGE SUKS ASS. so thats a wash. i think people are overstating the loss of abreu and giambi. they are each 1 yr older as well and on the wrong side of 35 and abreu esp has seen steady decline in his specialties (pitches per at bat, obp, etc) for the last couple yrs. it will be fine. we will score runs. Will we lose some 2-1 and 1-0 games? odf course. will we win some 7-1 games, yup. will we have one of the beter run differentials in the AL, i’m willing to bet a top 7 finish.

        • Count Zero says:

          will we have one of the beter run differentials in the AL, i’m willing to bet a top 7 finish.

          This is hardly cause for celebration. Being 7th in run differential in the AL would most likely not get you into the playoffs…much less to the Serious.

      • Dustin says:

        No, I don’t forget that. But the offense doesn’t have to be stellar at every position in the lineup. They just need to produce 3-5 runs a game to allow someone on the pitching staff to get the win. You have to consider how crucial it’s going to be to have fewer runs given up by our starting pitchers and more innings pitched by them than last year so that our bullpen, already fantastic, will not be logging as many innings and will therefore be more effective. And a greater proportion of their innings will come from Rivera, which is always a good thing.

  9. Simon B. says:

    I really think there’s something to be said when the offense goes from 968 runs in 2007 to 789 runs in 2008. Can you remember a team that had such different offenses in consecutive years with essentially the same exact group. Hell, even in firesale teams like ’97-’98 Marlins, they didn’t decline that much. The Yankees caught the brunt of a LOT of bad luck. (Of course, they got a lot of good luck in ’07 with MVP-caliber years from Posada and Alex.)

    Besides Posada and Matsui and Cano, remember that Alex was out for 30 games, which is pretty significant when he’s the second best offensive player in the game. Jeter had terrible wrist injuries that he played under. Melky played 2/3 of a season as a replacement level player. There’s a lot of room for reasonable improvement.

    Things are likely to rebound next year to some extent. I do worry about the offense in the longterm, but I don’t buy that it’s all downhill from here.

    • jsbrendog says:

      eaxctly, arod missed significant time, jeter played injured, melky played too much, cano was awful and matsui and jorge were out most of the yr. you cannot count on 1 or 2 people having a bounceback year, but you can count on AT LEAST one or two out of 4 or 5. So out of jorge, matsui, swisher, cano, gardner to some degree although not comeback but breakout, and arod (a slump is when he is not a beast) you can more than count on AT LEAST 2 of them to get better which is what you need. if the rest of them stay the same and 2 or even 1 progress then there’s your offense.

    • Dustin says:

      Good points. And I feel we’re bound to go out and get someone who’s a better bat and just as good defensively in CF as Melky and Gardner. We can get someone like that pretty cheap in Taveras or Baldelli ($4-6 million over 2 years or $6-9 over 3). I also think we’ll add a good bench player (hopefully either Wigginton, though it doesn’t seem like we’re in on him or that he’s interested in being a utility guy again, or Aurilia) who can come in and be better than Betemit if Swisher isn’t hacking it or Jeter or Cano or Damon need a day off or a day to DH. I know Cash is quietly on the hunt for a utility infielder to help out Ransom, who may or may not be as solid as he was in the limited innings he got last year.

  10. ryan says:

    With the rotation and BP looking as strong as they do i don’t think we need another bat . It seems everyone is expecting someone different to comeback from an injury plagued season other than the guys who produce and porduce in the clutch. Arod has shown a couple years now except for his last mvp year producing runs isn’t always gonna win games. Hittin when it counts and the game is on the line is what’s gonna matter the most. A healthy posada and healthy enough to DH matsui should put more important runs on the board that actually make a difference in a game. If we had a bunch of arods in the lineup we’d probably win games either 10-1 or lose 1.

    • As currently constructed, here’s what our 2010 lineup looks like from today:

      C- Jorge Posada (who turns 39 in 2010 and may need to move to 1B or DH)
      1B- ?????????????
      2B- Robbie Cano
      SS- Derek Jeter
      3B- Alex Rodriguez
      LF- ?????????????
      CF- ?????????????
      RF- Nick Swisher
      DH- ?????????????

      There are two elite hitters on the market, and one more near elite hitter. All of them are better than anything likely to be on the market next winter. We have money to spend right now. None of our potential targets have expressed any disinclination to coming here and playing for us. Our future is clouded with uncertainty.

      Why wouldn’t we strike now? Why wait?

      • AndrewYF says:

        Matt Holliday is on the market next year. He will be the CC Sabathia of the 2009-2010 offseason.

        • You’ve still only filled one of the four ????????? holes in that team. We can, and probably should, add both one of Tex/Manny now AND Holliday next year.

          Remember, between Abreu, Giambi, Mussina, Pettitte, Pavano, Damon, Matsui, Nady, Molina, and Mariano, we’ve got about 130M in expiring AAV coming off the books in the next three years, and so far all we’ve added is CC, A.J., and Swisher… that’s a fraction of that money. We can add Tex or Manny now, and Holliday next year, and still remain at the same fiscal level (roughly).

          • kimonizer says:

            considering how they approached CC I imagine this is the way they approaching the bat. Think about 2010 just as much as next season. Since there will be spaces opening up there is no reason not to take the financial hit this year knowing we won’t be able to fill all the positions out of the FA market next year. Long term planning FTW

  11. dkidd says:

    daily news says brewers killed the cameron deal?

  12. ryan says:

    Thank God .. I just hope this doesn’t mean more money for manny. Gardner or Melky will do just fine for now.

  13. D.B.H.O.F. the word conservationist says:

    I would count on a big drop off from Jorge at the plate from the 2007 season. I would also bet if healthy he would dwarf the offensive numbers from the catchers in 08.

    I also have to say I feel the game calling was better this past year without him being there. I think Molina is better with the pitchers.

    If we get something from Jorge and Matsui this year, and also get better production from Jeter, Alex, Cano and Melky we MIGHT not need another bat. But I would rather be safe and get Manny.

    Swisher, and Cano both had terrible years last year. Melky might have shown that he is that AAAA player. Matsui and Jorge might just be old. Jeter I think was hurt, so hopefully he is healthy. Alex I hope has that every other year production in him. Damon in a walk year might be fun to see.

    WE STILL NEED MANNY.

  14. Mike says:

    No Manny!

    Where in the world is Posada going to play in 2010? You need to keep that DH spot open with the thought that Posada will eventually need to shift there probably some this year and lots in 2010!

    This year’s DH’s:
    Damon
    Matsui
    Posada

    2010 and 2011:
    Posada

    If our minors is as stacked with catchers as it seems, it only seems logical for us to bring one up, lower the impact of jorge’s body, keep him in the lineup and get overall younger again. Plus it allows the prospects to be able to learn for jorge while he and them are on the same team. Remember how nice it was having Giradi and Posada at the same time? Now we can do it again, but using Posada as the teacher. Calling a game is a very underrated skill and we will have some good teachers in Posada and Giradi, but the kids will eventually need to be up here to be taught and the more Mannys we sign, the more unlikely it is that a young kid will be able to come up because we will be positionally locked with talent…

    • A.D. says:

      The issue is outside of Cervelli (who projects to a back-up) all the catching prospects are in A-Ball or lower & all high-school kids, i.e. no fast movers, so in 2010 there’s no guarantee they’re ready.

      In reality when the Yanks gave Posada the contract they’re rolling the dice that he will be able to catch for that entire contract.

      • jsbrendog says:

        plus jorge isnt a great defensive catcher nor do i feel he would be a good teacher. we’ need papa joe g to put on the gear and mentor the young’uns lol

        or find someone to be a minor league catching instructor. someone like damiean miller (name? Dbacks catcher for awhile?) who handled staffs very well and i always thought was good catcher but wasnt that great offesively

      • Count Zero says:

        In reality when the Yanks gave Posada the contract they’re rolling the dice that he will be able to catch for that entire contract.

        AMEN! This is why I never liked the contract to begin with.

        At $14MM+ per year, Posada is a very overpriced DH posting a 120-125 OPS+. He’s a reasonably priced catcher if he posts career averages, but he’s a horribly priced DH. If Posada has to be moved to DH in 2010, we’re going to have low performance / cost at that position for two more years. Let’s hope that’s not what happens.

        • At $14MM+ per year, Posada is a very overpriced DH posting a 120-125 OPS+. He’s a reasonably priced catcher if he posts career averages, but he’s a horribly priced DH.

          Not really.

          2008 DH’s, sorted by OPS, with 2008 salaries:
          (Jorge’s career numbers used)

          Milton Bradley – .999 – $5.3M (he’ll get a raise)
          Aubrey Huff – .912 — $8.0M
          David Ortiz – .877 — $13.0M
          Jorge Posada – .857 — $13.1M
          Jim Thome – .865 — $15.6M
          Jason Kubel – .805 — $1.3M (it’s the Twins)
          Cliff Floyd – .804 — $2.75M (he’ll get a raise)
          Hideki Matsui – .795 — $13.0M
          Mike Sweeney – .728 — $500k (made $11.0M in 2007, plus, it’s the A’s)
          Gary Sheffield – .725 — $13.3M
          Billy Butler – .724 — $399k (it’s the Royals)
          Frank Thomas – .723 — $12.6M
          Craig Monroe – .679 — $3.8M (it’s the Twins)
          Jonny Gomes – .666 — $1.3M (it’s the Rays; they’ll spend more this year)
          Travis Hafner – .628 — $8.1M
          Jose Vidro – .612 — $8.5M

          I’d say that paying Jorge $13.1M to DH for us is not optimal, but it’s certainly not exorbitant or crippling. $13M for a DH is pretty in line with the current MLB salary structure.

          And it’s not “$14MM+” per year. It’s $13.1M a year, all four years of the deal. So, your statement should read,

          At $13.1M per year, Posada is an adequately priced DH posting a 120-125 OPS+. He’s an excellently priced catcher if he posts career averages, since his career averages are excellent for the catcher position, but he’s an adequately priced DH, since he’d be putting up decent DH numbers (fourth best DH in the 2008 AL) for decent DH prices.

          • Count Zero says:

            Somewhat disingenuous.

            Sheffield at 13.3 was horrid and a terrible decision by the kittens.

            Matsui was supposed to be an outfielder not a DH.

            Ortiz had a terrible 2008 and may be past his best years, but in 2007 he had an OPS+ of 171 and in 2006 it was 161. That’s what he was getting $13MM for.

            Thome has a career OPS+ of 148 — that’s how he got that ridiculous contract. (Posada =124).

            All the guys you are saying “he’ll get a raise” will definitely get them, but those raises won’t put them anywhere near $13MM.

            The reality is, the only one of those guys getting $13MM last year who was definitely worth it was…oh wait…it was none of them. Except maybe Ortiz but he missed a lot of time. The best DHs last year were both paid less than $10MM.

          • Count Zero says:

            Or put another way…

            Let’s say you can go into the way back machine and it’s March 2008, but you have mysteriously forgotten everything that happened during the 2008 season. ;-)

            So, purely on the basis of past performance and your expectations going forward (is the player going to decline, etc.) — how many of those contracts would you have taken?

            Sheffield at $13.3 — no effing way.
            Thome at $15.6 — no.
            Thomas at $12.6 — no effing way.
            Ortiz at $13.0 — yes.
            Hafner at $8.1 — yes.

            You’re justifying $13MM for a DH who has an OPS+ of 120 or so by pointing to a lot of bad contracts which I would never have signed in the first place.

            It’s like justifying what Pettitte should get by pointing at Zito’s contract and saying: “Look what Zito’s getting paid? Pettitte is definitely better than him!”

            • But the fact that most of those guys weren’t signed to those contracts to be a DH isn’t the point of contention. The statement was, the Posada signing was a bad decision, because in the event that he became a DH, he’d be producing at a level below that of a DH, and he’d be getting paid at a level above that of a DH, hence, it was a bad signing.

              And neither of those things are true.

              Look, virtually no team ever signs a guy expressly to be a DH, most teams sign guys to play in the field somewhere and then use the DH to keep another good bat in the field. So, the fact that Posada was signed to be a catcher and Sheffield was signed to be an outfielder, but both of them ended up as DH’s making 13M undermines the whole “the contract was bad because it doesn’t make market sense.” idea.

              I’ll entertain you making an argument that the contract was a bad idea because we shouldn’t be paying 13M for an old DH OPS+ing 120 as some sort of intrinsic philosophical misallocation of resources, because there’s some legs to that argument. But you can’t claim that the contract was a bad decision because it’s not in line with the market or it puts us at a competitive disadvantage, because the contract is perfectly in line with the market, and if our competitors all have DH’s producing at Posada’s levels and getting paid what Posada’s getting paid, there’s no competitive disadvantage (although there is the opportunity cost of being prevented from securing a true competitive advantage instead…)

    • No Manny! Where in the world is Posada going to play in 2010? You need to keep that DH spot open with the thought that Posada will eventually need to shift there probably some this year and lots in 2010!

      Easy.

      2009:
      C- Posada
      1B- Swisher
      2B- Cano
      SS- Jeter
      3B- ARod
      LF- Manny
      CF- Gardner/Cameron
      RF- Nady
      DH- Damon

      2010:
      C- Cervelli/some FA stopgap
      1B- Swisher
      2B- Cano
      SS- Jeter
      3B- ARod
      LF- Manny
      CF- Austin Jackson
      RF- Matt Holliday
      DH- Posada

      2011:
      C- Montero/Romine
      1B- Swisher
      2B- Cano
      SS- Jeter
      3B- ARod
      LF- Manny
      CF- Austin Jackson
      RF- Matt Holliday
      DH- Posada

      ————————-

      Does Manny in LF suck? Yeah. But it’s doable. The man RAKES, more than enough to make up for his defense We’re not talking about Bobby Abreu here, we’re talking about Manny Ramirez. And in this scenario, Manny and Jeter would be the only poor defenders on the field. I feel a lot less nervous about Manny in LF if Gardner, AJax, or Mike Cameron are in CF.

      And all this is assuming that Posada can’t play 1B, which is a definite possibility. If he can do that, he moves to first, Swisher moves to the outfield, and Manny moves to DH. So the above is the WORST CASE scenario, and it’s still damn good.

      2010:
      C- Cervelli/some FA stopgap
      1B- Posada
      2B- Cano
      SS- Jeter
      3B- ARod
      LF- Swisher
      CF- Austin Jackson
      RF- Matt Holliday
      DH- Manny

      You can’t complain about that.

  15. Reggie C. says:

    Looks like the Yanks are more likely to go with Damon in CF if they pursue Manny.

  16. Rob in CT says:

    If you have to pick 1 single reason the Yanks missed the playoffs last season, it’s Jorge’s injury. Cano’s implosion is #2, IMO.

    Having said that, even if he bounces back to his career average, he’s probably not going to play his usual (pre-injury) number of games. Further, you’ve got to expect some age-related declines elsewhere on the field (Jeter, Damon) and the regression of Xavier Nady to… Xavier Nady. Then, delete Abreu & Giambi.

    So even if you get a reasonably good season out of Jorge and Cano bounces back, I think they need another bat. I do NOT want Manny. I want Tex. He solves problems on offense and defense, he’s relatively young, and he’s not crazy. Failing Tex, give me Dunn.

    • jsbrendog says:

      i would put melkys black hole offensive season as # 2 cause they couldve s=ustained canos regression if they had gotten ANYTHING remotely resembling offense from cf.

      • Sciorsci says:

        But in terms of expectations, it was always far more likely that Cabrera would be an offensive drag than Cano. Cano had already proven himself to be a valuable offensive contributor heading into 2008, whereas Cabrera had seen mixed results. In other words, both Cano’s and Cabrera’s disappointing 2008 seasons can be referenced interchangeably for the purposes of determining what went wrong last season, but Cano’s poor output was more surprising, at least in my opinion.

  17. A.D. says:

    124 OPS+ would be nice, a 100 OPS + will get it done, still a 25 point improvement, especially if Cano, whomever is playing CF, and Swisher pick it up from last year

  18. Axl says:

    The bad thing is…once Tex is off the market…Boras has the upper hand…especially if the Sox get Tex and know the Yankees will need Manny…his asking price is going to be ridiculous…I just hope we play it smart…

    • A.D. says:

      Yankees don’t need anything, they can easily go an compete with the line-up they have now. Right now Boras needs Tex to sign to get suitors for Manny, as right now the suitors are the Dodgers & a half effort for the Yanks.

      If Tex goes to Boston you’re talking Angels, Dodgers, and Yanks bidding for Manny

      • jsbrendog says:

        all those yrs we won world series we went into the season with a “light hitting team” and then added cecil fielder, daryl strawberry, jose canseco, david justice, etc. The missing piece to the puzzle. The answer is not to sign a bat when you dont know what you have, it is to wait and see what you have and if you need a bat you go trade for one in a salary dump with a shorter or expiring contract. That’s how ti was done then and thats how it shold be done now.

        • Axl says:

          Yeah, but all those years there weren’t as many “hard hitting teams”. So you could get away with pitching and mostly light hitters. It’s 2009…it’s not 1996. While the steroids have mostly been weeded out…guys are just generally bigger and hitting more home runs than before anyway.

          Arod struck out a lot even after seeing the 4+ pitches per at bat with Abreu…now we’re going to stick a Cano who still is finding himself or an injury plagued Matsui in front of him and be comfortable?

          I don’t really care for Manny either…but if we only have Sabathia for potentially 3 years…I’d like to put out the best team possible to win while we have him. And if that’s adding a bat like Manny Ramirez’ for 3 years…I don’t think he’ll act up as much playing in his backyard as a full time DH.

          Tex is really the answer…but doesn’t look at all likely.

          But to compare the 90′s teams to the game of today is apple and oranges. The AL East is entirely different and so isn’t everybody else really.

          Teams weren’t as stacked as they are today I guess…

        • all those yrs we won world series we went into the season with a “light hitting team” and then added cecil fielder, daryl strawberry, jose canseco, david justice, etc. The missing piece to the puzzle.

          1998 Yankees Opening day lineup (with OPS+):
          C Jorge Posada – 115
          1B Tino Martinez – 124
          2B Chuck Knoblauch – 102
          3B Scott Brosius – 121
          SS Derek Jeter – 127
          LF Chad Curtis – 90
          CF Bernie Williams – 160
          RF Paul O’Neill – 130
          DH Darryl Strawberry – 132

          “Light-hitting lineup” my ass.

          If you want to talk about the 1996 Yankees, perhaps… That team was less of an offensive juggernaut and more built around a Tampa Rays-like core of 5 great, healthy starters that went deep into games (Cone, Pettitte, Key, Gooden, and Rogers) with a dominant, otherworldly bullpen.

          But the ’98, ’99, and ’00 teams were STACKED offensively. Absolutely STACKED.

          Oh, and you can’t just say “we’ll trade for Fielder or Justice” anymore… those trades don’t happen anymore. Look at the Jake Peavy saga. 15 years ago, Jake Peavy would have been wearing pinstripes a month ago, probably for IPK and fodder, because the Padres would have been over a barrel economically, and couldn’t just say, “You know what? Fuck it, that’s not enough, we’ll just keep him.” Hell, they never would have extended him in the first place, they would have traded him to us two years ago when the word “extension” first came up.

        • Sciorsci says:

          Can you be certain that’s absolutely the right way to do it, or is it possible that it was just a function of the best approach at acquiring talent in those particular seasons?

          On one hand, it’s nice to wait and see what you’ve got and/or who might get injured, etc. (who would have guessed the Yankees would have acquired Pudge last season if you’d have asked them last December), but that also adds to the uncertainty of what you’ll be able to acquire. You don’t know which teams will be looking to dump contracts, or what contracts they’ll be looking to dump; you may have to sacrifice prospects (and if the Yankees are in a dire situation offensively, they might be forced to sacrifice fairly valuable prospects) or assume a bad contract, etc. There are a variety of reasons why it is not necessarily in the team’s best interest to wait until they see what they’ve got and/or get a feel for the in-season trade market.

          The more I think about it, the more I’d be satisfied with Dunn on a reasonable contract (3/$39M?).

  19. Simon B. says:

    The 2008 Yankees scored 179 fewer runs than the previous year, a loss that ranks 35th in baseball since 1900, 14th in the last fifty years, excluding the strike-shortened years of 1981 and 1994.

    I guess that doesn’t sound particularly incredible, but keep in mind, it is out of almost 2000 teams that qualify. It is particularly surprising because it was almost exactly the same guys on the team offensively (though many were injured obviously). When something that crazy happens, there’s a lot of bad breaks involved. They will rebound in 2009.

    • Simon B. says:

      Correction: I forgot to include three franchises in my data, so the ’08 team actually ranks 37th in that dubious honor, and 15th in the last fifty years.

  20. pounder says:

    No reason to expect a deep decline in Jorges numbers ? We cannot go into 09 with our fingers crossed.Go whole hog for Tex, at any cost.

    • Axl says:

      I wish there was a way to pry Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres instead. I really like what he’s capable of. He’s young, cheap, just won a Gold Glove…and hits 30+ HR a year at Petco…he’d be great.

    • Old Ranger says:

      Tex, at any cost?
      I don’t think so! We could use him, very much so, but not at all cost. I would like to get him for say, 3 or 4 years…I know, improbable, not impossible.
      Using the same idea put forth by another poster (few weeks ago) for another player; Tex signs with us for 3 years; has great numbers, is only 32 years old…as a FA in 2011, real big $$$$. Then we replace him with our own AAA players. Yes, it is a pipe dream…but, I still like the idea. Hell, no wackier then some others. 27/09.

  21. Old Ranger says:

    With all this talk of Posada, have we forgotten Matsui? He also was a very big missing bat.
    BA .295
    OBP .371
    SLG .478
    OPS .849
    OPS+ 123
    Add him and Posada, just at avg., is enough to off set a need for another high priced, long contract. We would have only one weak bat, Brett in CF…which I still think will be a lot better and a benefit for the club.

  22. nick blasioli says:

    as long as posada catches,,we will be fine,,but, we must sign tex or manny….as we sure shouldnt count on posadas bat….

  23. KO says:

    Its not Posada’s bat that worries you, altho’ I see him as #7 hitter, not 5 or 6. Its his “D”. If he can’t throw adequately, the Yankees have a big problem. You don’t want him as a first baseman, he’s a below average hitter for what you want there, altho’ I’d definitely take him over Swisher.

  24. Bonos says:

    How about a trade for Blalock or someone comparable. Someone that’s blocked at AAA. It doesn’t have to be Manny. St Louis has too many OFs. Hermida from the Marlins, Milledge at Washington, there are options.

  25. Kidwithanopinion says:

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!But ew still need another bat. What about Matt Kemp.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.