Like it or not, Molina likely to catch in playoffs

On a Friday night, CC throws a clunker
Previewing the Jason Bay 'sweepstakes'

The past week has seen debate over what the Yanks should do with their ALDS roster construction. Which 10 pitchers should they carry? Should they add Freddy Guzman? Francisco Cervelli? None of these is the most important question — the one that will have the most impact on one or multiple games. No, that question is of playing time at catcher. We’ve seen some speculation that Jose Molina could catch A.J. Burnett, and given some of Girardi’s comments last night, it appears that will be the case. From Feinsand:

“We haven’t come up with any final decisions on how we’re going to do things,” Girardi said. “Jose is possibly going to play an important role next week, so we wanted to get him some at-bats.”

I don’t think that “an important role” means catching the eighth and ninth if the Yanks pinch run for Posada. No, “an important role” would appear to mean starting catcher. So for those who are vehemently against Molina seeing any playing time next week, commence flipping out.

I’m not necessarily against the move. If it makes Burnett pitch better, I’m actually all for it. The problem is that I don’t think there’s any certainty in that. Are we guaranteed a good Burnett start with Molina behind the plate? If so, start him. If there’s no guarantee, though, and there’s really not any objective way to say there is, then I have to question the decision to take either Jorge’s or Matsui’s bat out of the lineup.

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On a Friday night, CC throws a clunker
Previewing the Jason Bay 'sweepstakes'
  • Vader

    How crazy would it be, that if in Game 1, CC throws another clunker to Posada…would Girardi be crazy enough to have Molina cath CC in game 5?

  • Lucky

    Edited by RAB: Why do some people insist on posting the same thing on two threads?

    • Teix is the Man

      Why don’t you sit out the next couple of plays?

    • billbybob

      You cannot be serious.

    • Lucky

      Because this thread didn’t exist when I posted it over on the other one. It seemed more apporporiate here. Sorry. Why would you censor someting thoughtful and directly related to the discussion topic?

  • Mark from Chicago

    Given how well Burnett is pitching lately with Molina behind the plate, I have no problems benching Posada or Matsui for one game. Unless he throws a clunker in the ALDS, I don’t think Girardi will break this tandem up, assuming we advance as expected to the ALCS and WS.

  • Lucky

    I;d start Molina every game. Really. This gap is just to big to ignore. DH Posada at times, or have him available to PH

    • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

      How did not having Posada work out for the Yanks last year?

      How did having Molina catching him work out for Burnett in Baltimore?

      Having a catcher with Posada’s bat is a major asset, one that helps make the Yanks better than their opponents. With Molina starting, they are a much weaker team.

      It’s been said a million times here, but anyone with a shred of baseball knowledge would agree that over the course of a series:

      Posada + Matsui >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the alleged better pitching of the starters + Molina – Matsui or Posada

      Sure, for one game, it won’t kill them (like Joe noted). But over a series? No way Molina plays over Posada. It’s like suggesting that Gardner should play over Swisher because his defense is better.

      • Vader

        The old saying goes…pitching and defense win in the postseason.

        Can someone tell me, is there a way of determining what the difference is to when Molina catches to when Posada catches?

        As such, how much better is the pitching staff between the two and how much offence would be lost not having Posada in the lineup.

        With runs being at a premium in the postseason, is it better to try and limit runs or produce more runs?

        • Lucky

          Vader. Measured by opponents OPS, the Yankees are the 2nd worst pitching staff in the American league when Posada catches.

          when Molina catches they are the best pitching staff in baseball by a wide margin.

          Posada would have to post approximately a 1550 Ops (which has never been done over a season) to offset the difference in the performence of the pitching staff.

          • Mike P

            Thanks for reminding us Posada’s never had a 1550 OPS. We all thought that Posada could catch barehanded if he wanted, seeing as he would score 200 runs a season all by himself.

        • Mike P

          The runs are a premium in the post-season argument is mute. Somehow, the Yanks offense will become less potent but the other teams’ won’t be affected? If you argue that fewer runs are scored, therefore Posada’s superior bat plays less, you have to argue that Yankee starters will concede fewer runs, therefore Molina’s superior game calling plays less.

          • Lucky

            huh?

            All the runs-at-a-premium bit means is that in the playoffs the pitching tends to be better. And the hitting tends to be better, but – as we all know – great pitching can neutralize great hitting.

            I don’t get your point. The Yankees are better when Molina plays becausse they give up far fewer runs, even as they score a few fewer runs. THat is true in Oct and June

            • Doug

              so the yanks should resign molina as our #1 catcher next year and have posada as our backup? got it!

              • Lucky

                Posada should be the DH next year. I don’t know about Molina. His bat is really weak. There are probably better catching options, but there are no worse ones than Posada at this point.

                • Doug

                  haven’t you been praising molina to no end on here. now there may be “better catching options”?

                • Lucky

                  I don’t recall praising Molina. I am praising the pitchiing staff and criticizing Posada for making it much worse than it should be. Molina is entirely disposable to me. Just as long as Posada isn’t the other option. He’s done as a MLB catcher. He’s going to kill this team in Oct if given the chance.

                • Doug

                  but you’re praising the staff only when molina catches. sounds like he (or his clone) is indispensable.

                • Lucky

                  I guess that’s one conclusion you could make, but I think it’s more that the other guy is just really, really bad.

                • Sweet Dick Willie

                  There are probably better catching options, but there are no worse ones than Posada at this point

                  Really? You would take Varitek over Jorge?

                • Lucky

                  THat would be a very hard call. I wouldn’t want either one of them catching my team. I’d rather have Posada on my roster because he can hit, tho.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                  The fact that it would be “a very hard call” to decide between Varitek and Posada completely discredits everything you’ve written.

                • Lucky

                  A hard call as a catcher? Varitek is analagous to Molina here. He can’t hit. WHat makes it a hard call is is defense is also suspect at this point. Obviously as a hitter Posada is much better. But I don’t want Posada catching, so how does that discredit what I said?

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

              You know what? I’m pretty done with this argument. We’re never going to reconcile. The staff pitches better when Molina catches. You’re saying that’s because Jorge’s a terrible catcher. I’m saying that’s because Molina has mostly caught CC and AJ, who are the two best pitchers on the staff.

              • Lucky

                OK, now you are at least making an argument. Problem is Both CC and Burnett are way better throwing to Molina than Posada.

                758, 775 are teh OPS against Sabathia and Burnett respectively W Posada at chatcher.

                622, 636 are the OPS against with Molina. Seems Posada’s negative effect is even more dramatic on these guys than the rest of the staff. They are not good pitchers when Posada catches, and flat-out spectacular, Pedro in ’99 awesome, when Molina catches.

                Is that the point you wanted to make? THis is just such a no brainer. DON”T LET POSADA CATCH JOE!

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

                  You know, the difference seems more pronounced with CC. His K/BB is over 6 with Molina and under 2 with Posada.

                  I still think we’re running into sample size and distribution problems here, but as I said in the post, if you can prove that the pitchers will pitch better, I’m for the idea. I don’t think you can quite prove that they will pitch better, but I’m more convinced of the argument than I was 30 minutes ago.

                • Lucky

                  Well nobody can prove anthing in baseball that will happen in the future. I’m just here to tell you that the Yankees have a glaring problem in Posada. TEHy have to know these numbers and they have to be torn internally over what to do about it. Will Joe have the balls to make the right move for the team and sit Posada? I doubt it, but I’d have a lot more respect for this manager if Sabathia was throwing to Molina in game 1. I fear the will get waxed in game 1 and never really recover because there will be fanboy pressure to play Posada again in game 2 if they get pounded.

                  As always, in recent years, it comes back to bad management of the Yanks and the fans pay for it, Most of the time not really knowing what just happened.

                • Doug

                  so there’s no chance that cc throws a gem with posada behind the plate…i see

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

                  The next part of the question is why? Why would Jorge have such a worse OPS against as a catcher? If it’s game calling, you can solve that by calling the game from the bench. But other than that, what is making Jorge worse?

                • Lucky

                  Good question, Joseph. My guess is he calls more fastballs with men on base becausse of his troubles throwing and is otherwise more predictable in his game calling. Tipping pitches?

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

                  Those seem like easily correctable problems.

                • Sweet Dick Willie

                  My guess is he calls more fastballs with men on base becausse of his troubles throwing

                  This year, Jorge has thrown out 29% of attempted steals and Molina has thrown out 28%.

                  Guess again.

                • Lucky

                  Agreed. Varitek gets hammered because of all the SB he allows, but it’s a team-wide decision they have made to not change the pitch calling to try to catch base stealers. Sox will live with a lot of SB to allow the pitchers to throw their best stuff to the hitter.

                  It looks really bad in games when the pitching struggles (like that Lester start V NY last weekend),but you hardly notice it when the pitching is good.

                • Lucky

                  Dickie, you are missing my point. And it is a guess. The fact that Posada is now throwing out a high percentage of runners could be evidence that he’s calling more fastballs with guys on base. His CS numbers go up and the hitters tee off. This was a big knock on Pudege Rodriguez for years when he was in TX winning gold gloves while his pitching staffs always sucked. You could count on nothing but fastballs when fast guys got on base.

                • Kevin

                  Passed balls

      • ric

        Not having Posada last year doesn’t factor in the equasion.
        The Yankees were a different team last year….
        No Texeira
        No Swisher
        No AJ
        No C.C.
        Injured Matsui
        Bad Cano
        Posada can’t catch or call a game, simple as that..
        Use him at DH
        Let Cervelli catch…
        World Series very likely!!!!

    • Free Mike Vick

      I;d start Molina every game. Really. This gap is just to big to ignore. DH Posada at times, or have him available to PH
      ________________________________________

      are you high on drugs???? if so…which ones? i would like to know what caused someones brain to just stop with logical reasoning.

      and what gap are you talking about? Let me give you a gap.

      .285/.364/.525….22 HR….81 RBI

      .219/.293/.261….1 HR….11 RBI

      would you like to have your wild brain try to guess which one is Jose Molina?

      • andrew

        eh. I thought he was kinda crazy at first, but he has a point/might even be right (shhhh)

        • Lucky

          Gasp!:)

  • Lucky

    If you can show me that Gardner’s defense accounts for a gap in opponents’ OPS of this magnitude, I’d want gardner in there over Swisher. Fact is you can’t. Look, Posada has been a great Yankee, but the evidence is overwhelming now. He’s hurting the team.

    Look at the Red Sox. They have pulled the plug on Varitek because tehy have a better option. Molina is a better option for the Yanks. Molina would have to hit like Arod to make up for the defensive woes he brings to the staff. This really isn’t debatable at this point. The question is whether Joe and Cashman have the balls to do what’s right for the team, or do they stick with this yankee sentimentality that has caused so many problems for us in recent years.

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

      “This really isn’t debatable at this point.”

      Just because you say it, doesn’t mean it’s true.

      • Lucky

        As a staff opponents OPS against the Yanks this year with Posada catching is .773 – With Molina Catching it’s 665

        That’s for the entire 9-man lineup. For Posada to make up that kind of gap in his offensive OPS he’d have to have an OPS of 9 greater than the difference between Molina and Posada. THat’s a nearly 1000 OPS Posada would have to be *better* than Posada offensiveely. IN other words, it’s not debatable. Posada behind the plate is a major, major liability.

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

          The problem is that you’re taking the result the pitchers and defense get and directly correlating it with the catcher. That’s a lot of things you’re saying the catcher directly controls.

          • Lucky

            I’m not saying the catcher directly controls anything. I’m saying over the course of thousands of innings, the Yankee’s pitching is WAY better with Molina than with Posada. Maybe it’s a coincidence. I doubt it, tho.

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

              And I’m saying that OPS number is skewed by a few blowouts. For instance, Jorge caught those three horrible Wang starts at the beginning of the year. You’re going to lump that on Jorge?

              Pitchers get blown out. It’s happened a number of times to the Yankees pitchers this season. Many times, they have nothing in the tank for the game. But you’re lumping that on Jorge. Which I think is wrong. If a pitcher pitches badly because he has nothing, the catcher is not at fault. Jorge catches the majority of the games, so he’s more likely to catch a blow out than Molina.

              Remember, when you’re citing the difference in OPS, you’re putting bad pitching performances on Jorge, no matter what the pitcher did.

              • Lucky

                Thats why you don;t look at any one or handful of games. I’m looking at the full season. Don’t you think it’s meaningful that blowouts keep happening when one guy is catching but the other guy isn’t? I mean think about it, you are saying something like, “if you take out all the games where Jeter had more than 2 Ks in a game, he hit .400.” It may be true, but why would you throw out the bad games? The point is there are more bad games with Posada than with anyone else for some reason.

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

                  Yeah, the some reason is that Jorge has caught more than double the innings of Molina this season, thus doubly exposing him to pitchers who might be having a bad day.

                • Lucky

                  And doubly exposing him to pitchers who may have a great day. Plus he has more innings to mute the effect of a few bad innings. If you want to go this route, you need to argue that because Molina has a smaller sample size, he’s just been lucky to not have run into more bad pithcing performences. Maybe that’s true, but it’s a multi-year trend with the other guy.

                • Mike P

                  Lucky, you are misusing statistics so much it’s unreal. You can’t just multiply the OPS difference by nine. It’s not a linear statistic, and includes two completely different stats (OBP and slugging do not have the same scale). Also, you keep talking about the Yanks’ staff with Posada and the Yanks’ staff with Molina like it’s the same thing. Did Molina catch every Yankee starter in the same proportion as Posada? Clearly not, Joe just pointed out the Wang starts and Molina disproportionately caught the Yanks second best starter.

                  If you want to argue that the case is black and white, don’t use gray logic and stats. Though I don’t think you really want to argue at all, do you?

                • Lucky

                  Can you find a single pitcher who is better throwing to Posada than to Molina? I’ve been looking and can’t find one. Hughes and Bruney are close. So that’s something. LOL

                  I admit the X9 multiplier is not entirely accurate, but the point is that you can’t just say the difference in Posada and Molina’s bat is 450 OPS points so therefore the Molina offensive shortcoming is worse than the Posada defensive shortcoming. There is a multiplier that needs to be applied. I am not smart enough to tell you exactly what it is, but it’s something around 9

                • Mike P

                  “I’m not smart enough to tell you what it is, but it’s something around 9″…

                  “I really don’t know anything about the subject, but I’ll express my outrageous opinion anyway”.

                • Lucky

                  How is it outrageous to say that the OPS of an entire team does not have the same impact on a game as the OPS of a particular player and the difference is something like 9?

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                  That makes no sense. You’re saying if opposing hitters had a .700 OPS with Posada and a .600 OPS with Molina, that Posada would need a (.700-.600)*9 = .900 OPS to make up the difference?

                  Really?

                • Lucky

                  I think that/s right, but I’d love to learn otherwise.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          What’s the breakdown of the OPS’s? Are they OBP heavy, or SLG heavy?

          • Lucky

            OBP heavy

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      This is actually very simple.

      Via FanGraphs, Swisher has created 23.4 runs with his bat and saved 2.3 with his glove in 148 games. (23.4+2.3)/148 = .17 runs per game.

      Gardner has created 1.9 runs with his bat and saved 6.1 with the glove in 106 games. (1.9+6.1)/106 = 0.07 runs per game.

      Starting Gardner over Swisher for one, maybe two fly balls per game is even dumber than suggesting Molina should catch every game.

      • Lucky

        who suggested that?

  • Lucky

    I mean Posada would have to hit like Arod…

    As for your point about BUrnett/Molina in Balt, that’s one game. Sample size anyone? The OPS against numbers are over the course of a full season and thousands of innings caught by each.

    • Mike P

      Sample size is irrelevant when the samples aren’t the same. A third of Molina’s starts have been catching the Yanks second best pitcher. You can’t extrapolate that sample season long unless magically Molina allows you a three man rotation.

      • Lucky

        Again, Mike. This would hold some water if that pitcher wasn’t much worse when he threw to Posada. Not a little worse. MUCH worse. And Posada caught Burnett 16 times. Molina caught him 10 times.

  • YankeeDoodleDandie

    Joe, I agree with you…if it helps Burnett’s pitching then its a good move to catch Molina. One thing about that game is that Molina will only come to bat twice at the most before the bullpen comes in. At that point Girardi should substitute Posada for Molina. Two at bats by Molina is a small price to pay if it means we get 6-7 solid innings out of AJ.

    • Mr. Max

      True. Lucky’s still an idiot.

      • http://www.wiredtowns.com Short Porch

        Lucky as a real point.

        There is a huge gap in opponent OPS between Posada and Molina.

        Is it a matter finally of how comfortable pitchers are throwing to Jorge versus Jose?

        Hard to quantify, but Burnett is hardly the first Yankee pitcher to express dissatisfaction with Jorge behind the dish.

        If I had to guess, it would be that Jose is just better at outsmarting the hitters, not just what’s called when, but where as well, where he’s sticking his glove.

        Whatever your opinion, the numbers are too big to dismiss easily.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          OPS itself is inherently flawed because it undervalues OBP. That one stat is not enough evidence to base a decision like this off of.

          • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

            OPS is useful to get a baseline idea of something but if you just look at it without qualifiers you can make conclusions like “If Jose Molina caught Chad Gaudin he’d always be good!!”

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

              Exactly.

              We need more context. What were the quality of the teams they were facing when each guy was catching? Just off memory, seems like Posada caught way more games against Boston and Anaheim than Molina this year.

              • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

                Molina caught both of CC’s shut-outs versus the Sox because they were day games.

                Given the sample-size Molina has those alone have to boost his “catcher’s OPS against” significantly.

                Jorge caught a lot of CC’s early games when he was putting it all together.

                In the end, it’s all goofy because CC pitched to Victor Martinez just fine and he’s regarded to be a catcher of Jorge Posada-level defensive ability.

                • Lucky

                  I think you are not getting how bad Posada has become. Martinez caught the last two AL CY YOung winners, in CC and CLee. Yes he is not a very good defensive catcher, but he has nowhere near the negative effect on his staff that Posada circa 2009 has

                • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

                  I think you are overstating it based on what you want to think since you have nothing to back it up but OPS against.

                  Jason Varitek: horrible in every way catcher didn’t destroy Beckett or Lester, did he?

                • Lucky

                  Boston’s opponent’s OPS is .730 with Varitek on the mound. .802 with VMart. Again, Varitek is analagous to Molina in this debate. Why do people keep trying to make him Posada?

                  Varitek would catch nearly every game if Lowell didn’t need so much time off to stay in the lineup

            • Lucky

              Who said that Gaudin would always be good? YOu guys are really putting words in my mouth here.

  • Zack

    Here’s why I dont like the move.
    1. Molina catching doesnt guarenttee AJ is on his game. He’s thrown good and bad to both catchers.
    2. If it works, it will convince Girardi to do the same in the ALCS, and that means you’re giving up an out to Bekcett or Lester, which I dont think you can do in the playoffs.
    3. If it doesnt work, then basically you gave away game 3 in a 5 game series by over thinking the situation.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Sounds like a career backup catcher is overvaluing the importance of a backup catcher.

    • http://imgur.com/NMNVd.jpg Joba Powers (all I needs is a jheri curl mullet)

      Pffft… Girardi’s just being nice in the press about Molina’s chances.
      In reality, Molina will not start a single game.

      cut to Molina going 0-4 with 2 K and 2 GDP in Game 2.

      F*** you, Girardi.

      F***.

      You.

      • JM

        IETC. Not the actual results, just the reaction.

      • RCK

        I hope you are right.

        My flipping out has commenced.

      • Sal

        that works for me . if he goes o-4 , that means the yankees have sent 36 men to the plate in 6 or 7 innings and we have the lead.

  • Pasqua

    If Molina catches, do you think the likelihood is that Posada is on the bench (as opposed to DH’ing)?

    Reason being: if Burnett gets pulled early due to a bad outing, or is simply removed due to pitch count / situation, it would seem logical to pull Molina with him and put Posada behind the plate to get his bat in there; however, if you have Posada DH’ing and move him behind the plate you force the pitcher to hit…meaning Matsui probably only gets a single PH at-bat.

  • Lucky

    I love how it’s “over-thinking” when it goes against conventional wisdom. The numbers are overwhelming here. Your only argument is to refute them. I don’t see how they can be, especailly when it’s been trend of several years with Posada.

    2008 Team OPS against W Posada 773, overall 733
    2007, Posada 757, team 757
    2006, Posada 734, Team 740

    The guy is in a sharp, and measurable defensive decline. He is now a massive, massive negative on the pitching staff. It sucks, but it needs to be recognized for what it is.

    • Mike P

      Go find yourself some different stats and see if you can make the same argument. There’s quite a few out there if you’re such an expert with them, explain your argument in different terms.

    • whozat

      If you frequented this site at all, you’d know that none of the authors and few of the regulars are opposed to thinking that goes against the conventional wisdom.

      However, there are massive issues with your sample, and they’re correctable. You just don’t want to do the legwork. First of all, we don’t really care about how Sergio Mitre pitched to either of these guys, so take him and other guys like him out of the sample. The vagaries of a shitty pitcher don’t tell us anything. Take Wang’s disasters out, because again…those don’t tell us anything about Jorge’s affect on the pitcher. Really, you should take the opposing offenses into account, but if you want to argue that the remaining sample is big enough that it evens out…depending on the number of innings, I could believe that.

      So, take CC, AJ and Andy (and maybe Joba) starts with the two behind the plate, and compare those.

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

        I’ve been looking at those differences. Molina is better in each case, though it’s not as pronounced with A.J.

        He’s looking at OPS, which I don’t really favor. What gets me is K/BB, and the difference is stark in CC’s case. As I said in another comment, he has an over 6/1 K/BB ratio with Molina, and an under 2 ratio with Jorge.

        What hitters do is one thing. But K/BB is all on the pitcher. If there’s such a huge difference, it’s something the team should look into, to see if it’s the result of something they can correct in Posada. The Yanks really don’t need to be giving away an out every 9 batters.

        • whozat

          see, now that’s interesting.

          Ok, who were the offenses that CC/Molina faced? I mean, if I were Joe G, I’d try to sit Posada against weak offenses, reasoning that we wouldn’t need as many runs. If these numbers are against a bunch of teams that LOVE to swing the bat, that means something too.

          • Lucky

            I’m guessing here, but based on the high number of games he’s played, Molina has played in just about every series this year.

            • whozat

              A) You could, you know, check since you’re the one arguing that your numbers are significant and applicable.
              B) That’s not what I asked…I asked which offenses CC+Molina faced, since we’re talking about CC’s K/BB. That’s certainly not every series.

              • Lucky

                Some things that jump out at me looking at the oppositing numbers:
                * Molina faced zero NL teams.
                * The two teams he got the most playing time against (by a lot) are Boston and Tor — both top 5 OPS teams

                I don’t know how to get data on who faced actual thougher lineups, although common sense says Molina would see more weaker lineups as he plays more day games when the other team would be resting guys.

                • Lucky

                  See, this is why I din’t want to look up this stuff. YOu don’t want to hear it

          • Lucky

            Whoazit, you need to understand that my original post was deleted. Go up to the top and you will see what I mean. I don’t get why, but that’s what happened. Much of my analysis was in there.

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

              It’s because you wrote the same thing in the last thread, and it’s a violation of our commenting guidelines.

              • Lucky

                Again, this thread was created after I posted in another thread. YOu know as well as I do that you can bring old thoughts to new threads if they are more relevant to the new thread than to the old. This place would dry up very fast if only new ideas could be expressed.

        • Mr. Max

          CC’s K/BB went through the roof second half. How many more games did Molina catch than Posada over that period? I know that Molina was there a lot, and while it may be helping CC, it’s possible that CC was just better 2nd half, which is a common trait for pitchers. I hate to say coincidence, but Posada has been WAY too successful over the years as a game-caller to just not be good at it anymore.

      • Lucky

        Um, you need to read my posts. The problem is worse with Sabathia than with the rest of the staff.

  • Lucky

    BTW, for 2009 the OPS aginst Posada is 773. Against the team as a whole it’s 733. This is the best staff the yanks have had in years, but it pitches like the worst staff in years when Posada plays.

    • whozat

      This isn’t Fox…saying the same thing over and over again doesn’t make it more persuasive.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    Once again, Posada has caught THREE World Champion pitching staffs, TWO AL Champion pitching staffs, and TEN AL East Champion pitching staffs. What is the only year the Yankees did not make the playoffs? Oh right, when Posada was out 3/4 of the season and Molina was catching in his place.
    I really don’t think Posada’s catching is a liability. Then again, maybe it’s just a coincidence.

    • YankeeDoodleDandie

      Posada’s catching may not be a liability…but sometimes perception is reality. If Burnett has to take the mound in the playoffs and feel that he is going to have problems with Posada then he PROBABLY WILL have problems with Posada. At this point, the problem is in Burnett’s head…but we need Burnett to pitch well in the playoffs, so to keep his head on straight we should seriously consider catching Molina when he pitches.

      • Doug

        and if he pitches poorly, can we finally put molina out to pasture? anyone with a .554 OPS should not be in the majors

    • Lucky

      Come on. If this is the reason you want Posada to play, then bring back Benie Williams to play CF. This is 2009 and in 2009 a very good pitching staff becomes quite bad when he catches.

      • Mike P

        Or do they just not catch the same pitching staff? See, I can make the same argument over and over again too.

        • Lucky

          Mike, Sabathia has been bad. yes, bad when caught by Posada this year. He’s been historicially awesome when caught by Molina. He would have won the Cy Young and 25 games if Molina caught him 30 times instead of 10

          • Mike P

            Right… because Verlander and Greinke would also be terrible in all the games they pitch when Molina catches Sabathia.

            Correlation, causation, care to share your understanding of either of those? You seem to be quite the statistician…

            • Lucky

              If Veralander or Greinke was on the 2009 NYY they would almost certainly perform worse with Posada catching them than with Molina catching them. Why would they be any different?

              As for correlation and causation, you are the one offering no statistics just harumphs and slings.

              • Mike P

                That’s because it’s actually a very complicated argument for statistics to be useful. You have to completely tailor your sample, compare it to independent trends and even then it could be irrelevant. I understand that. You don’t. You also clearly don’t understand the one statistic that you are using.

                • Lucky

                  This thread didn’t exist when I posted on that last thread. Your posting guidelines are stupid if you can’t bring the same point to a new thread, when the new thread is newly created.

                • Lucky

                  I ceratainly do understand the stats I’m using. I know that OPS is flawed in that it’s weighted too much toward SLG and discounts OBP (OPB should be boosted about 10 percent to be euqal). YOu have no idea how much I know or who I am, frankly. And yes, I don’t have the time or desire to do more research here, but that does not dismiss the numbers I have presented. The gap is HUGE. If it was slight, you could have a point, but it’s not even close. Go look yourself. These numbers are on Baseball reference.com. And the OBP figures are even more dramatic than the OPS figures. I didn’t use those, because knobs like you would accuse me of ignoring SLG.

                • Lucky

                  .298 to .347 are the opposing OBP numbers for Molina/Posada.

                  For CC it’s .273, .344
                  For Burnett it’s .303, .353
                  For Chamberlain .386,.357
                  Pettitte .286, .333

                  Now rip me for sample size issues by breaking it down by pitcher…

          • Doug

            and molina has been historically pathetic with the bat. in the postseason you can’t give the other team 27 outs when you only get 23.

          • Mike Pop

            He would have won the Cy Young and 25 games if Molina caught him 30 times instead of 10

            Can people just stop responding to him now?

            Honestly.

        • Mr. Max

          +1

        • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Mike P – I’m just a casual observer in this conversation, so take this for what you will… I don’t agree with Lucky, but at least he’s using (what he thinks is relevant) evidence and making an argument. You just keep telling him he’s making the same argument over and over again, but you’re not actually using stats or any other evidence to make your counter-argument. Instead of just constantly asking whether they caught the same staff, maybe take a look at the numbers and figure out what the numbers look like when you take Wang’s stinkers out of Posada’s numbers, or when they catch the same pitchers, and maybe also show how much better Posada is offensively than Molina?

          Look… I agree with you, I think Lucky has a narrative worked out in his mind and is finding numbers that he thinks bolster his narrative when they’re not really all that persuasive or relevant… But if you’re going to mix it up with him up and down this thread, you have to bring an actual argument/evidence instead of just telling him he’s wrong.

          • Bob Stone

            +1

          • Mike P

            Fair point here. I actually am not sure what to think of this argument as I don’t believe you there’s enough evidence to call it one way or another without being directly involved with the team. Stats work in baseball because it’s such a long series of (more or less) independent battles. I don’t think that applies when you break it down to 10 games or even 20.

            I just got annoyed (not the only one) with Lucky for acting like it’s so obvious he’s right and being increadulous about anyone else disagreeing. So when he started using clearly flawed arguments I felt compelled to respond. Petty perhaps, but I like reading intelligent comments on this site. Not aggressive snarky know-it-all ones.

            • Lucky

              Mike the moderators took away my original post then left me to defend it without anyone actually reading it.

      • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

        You can’t compare Posada to Bernie, first of all. Posada is still a very capable catcher and a tremendous hitter. Secondly, you’re suggesting that Posada can’t catch because of his game-calling abilities. His game-calling abilities don’t deteriorate with age. Nice try with the comparison, though. A for effort.

        • Lucky

          Well the case I’m making is that he’s not a very capable catcher anymore and the fact that his pitchers (whoever you want to look at, they are all the same) do much better when he doens’t play says to me there’s a problem there. Maybe you don’t ever lose the mental ability to call a game, but clearly guys do get worse defensively over time.

          • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

            The only reason his pitchers would be “worse” with him behind the plate would be if his game-calling abilities were worse. From what I’ve seen watching about 140 games this year, he’s still pretty good at catching the ball and what I read on B-Ref tells me that his caught stealing is about the same as Molina’s. So if you want to provide me with some evidence to show that he’s not a capable defensive catcher, I’d be more than willing to take your argument seriously.

            • Lucky

              THis is silly. By your logic a great game caller from the 60s would be able to be as effective today as he was back then. Obviosuly something else matters other than mental ability.

  • miketotheg

    I’m a believer in keeping the team that brought you to the playoffs together in the playoffs. i think cervelli might be too young and experienced at this point, so I say bring in molina. I’m a big posada fan, he’s incredible in the playoffs, but having molina catch burnett in the playoffs will give us a better chance to win. when they relieve AJ they can relieve molina. Posada can DH, and we have the best bench in baseball, so girardi can still pinch hit for the pitcher as needed. let’s keep them guessing!!

    There’s no guarantees, but there’s no need to take big risks. posada and AJ can resolve their pitch selections next year.

    • JM

      Why wouldn’t you keep Jorge on the bench and DH Matsui. That way, you can just sub Jorge for Molina after Burnett is out of the game.

      • miketotheg

        posada is a better hitter than matsui, so keep him in there. then you have the bench too pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot.

        girardi is sneeky.

      • Kevin

        That’s important.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    You know what’s scary? Burnett starting in an NL park in the World Series and Molina batting in front of the pitcher. Memo to Joe Girardi: THIS CANNOT HAPPEN.

    • Doug

      yup, then we’re down to 19 or 20 outs.

  • Tom Zig

    If there is such a problem with Jorge’s game calling, why not just have Molina call the game from the bench?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Ding ding ding!

      • Free Mike Vick

        what do we have for our winner, johnny???

        ahhh…its a beautiful case of rational thought! YAY

        • miketotheg

          could it be because posada can’t catch burnett’s “hook” aka curveball.

  • http://pinstripepalace.blogspot.com/ Brien Jackson

    You know, I thought it was a bad move at first, but the more I think about it, I don’t know. I don’t buy the “Jorge can’t catch” narrative, especially as it applies to pitch calling, but let’s be honest, the guy is not a very good defensive catcher, and he doesn’t do an awesome job blocking pitches by any means. And while I think people overblow the “pitcher feels comfortable with this catcher and plays better” meme, I do think that when you have a guy who relies on a hard breaking ball as much as AJ relies on his curve, it really can affect his performance if he’s not confident the catcher will block a pitch in the dirt. If that’s the case with Burnett, I can see a real case for letting Molina catch his ALDS start.

  • Dela G

    good god, this “lucky” character sounds like a more foolish and even more trolly “alex gonzalez”

    • Bob Stone

      I disagree. I had it out several times with AG because he advanced idiotic arguments (and as we later found out, he did it to get a rise out of all of us).

      Lucky is promoting a position, backed by statistics (and not just a selective few numbers). Everyone may disagree with him but I haven’t seen anyone REFUTE (except questioning the 9 times OPS position) his statistical positions. I also haven’t seen anyone present superior statistics against Lucky’s position.

      Let the guy advance his argument, and if we want to refute it let’s back it up. Don’t try to refute his position with personal attacks.

      I, for one, welcome contrarian arguments that are logical, well thought out, backed by facts and statistic and cogently presented.

      • Pasqua

        …and he uses punctuation, and writes in complete sentences, so that makes him more tolerable than AG right there.

        • Bob Stone

          True. But he writes in a different era . . . where initial caps to start a sentence is socially acceptable.

      • whozat

        He’s certainly more pleasant to talk to than ag was.

        But, he’s misusing the numbers. There’s an inherent sampling bias that he’s ignoring, and he refuses to see it. And despite people pointing out flaws in his logic, he still repeats the same flawed argument over and over.

        • Bob Stone

          He was, in his defense, getting attacked from all sides and ganged up on. Joe Pawlikowski was a little bit open minded (Joe: “I don’t think you can quite prove that they will pitch better, but I’m more convinced of the argument than I was 30 minutes ago.”) but not many others seemed to even entertain his thoughts, despite all the statistics (flawed or not).

        • Lucky

          Of course there are sampling problems! But all we can go on is what we have. Every time someone says “it’s because Posada caught Wang” I point out that the numebrs are most dramatic with Sabathia. It’s a split that appears across the board with all starters, to one degree or another. I’d say the burden to disprove what I’m saying is on you guys at this point. ANd it should be a piece of cake, if I’m cherry picking stats to make a point. Believe me, I’m not and I think the people who have gone and looked and backed down reinforce that. Posada, to use an advanced metric, SUCKS at this point and if used as a catcher in the playoffs will ultimately cost the Yankees runs. Maybe they can overcome that. I really don’t know.

  • Free Mike Vick

    this makes me want to throw up my lunch!

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    I was really hoping the Yankee powers-that-be would not out smart themselves, but it looks like they might.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Yeah, if this isn’t overthinking and micromanaging, I don’t know what is.

  • Mr. Max

    Anyone have the WAR and VORP stats on Posada and Molina? Offense AND defense? Am I actually asking such a dumb friggin’ question? Molina’s defense doesn’t come close to picking up his noodle bat. CC is a better hitter than he is. Hell, MO is!

    • Bob Stone

      Do WAR and VORP include game calling skills. I don’t think so but I don’t know.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        They don’t. It’s almost impossible to quantify game calling because what the catcher calls the first time around might not end up being what the pitcher throws.

        • Bob Stone

          Thanks for the info. I thought as much.

    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

      WAR doesn’t try to quantify catcher’s defense as far as I know.

      Molina would have to be baseball catching Jesus anyway to make up for his below replacement level bat to even come close to say, Gregg Zaun.

    • Lucky

      2 problems with WAR and VORP. Both reward playing time and neither addresses catcher’s defense.

  • Don

    Im glad this debate is finally happening, as Ive been calling out Molina’s bat all year.

    As well as the Yanks have built their roster, their love affair with Molina especially in light of Cervelli’s emergence as a backup catcher is befuddling. Cervelli has a better throwing arm, better framing ability, a more capable bat, and far better speed.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      But he’s teh rookie!!!1111!

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siYKRL4I3UA JobaWockeeZ

      Cervelli has a better throwing arm, better framing ability, a more capable bat, and far better speed.
      Can’t prove any of these except for speed.

  • Don

    PS. Based on historic numbers, Girardi’s obsession with Molina mirrors Torre’s with Enrique Wilson.

  • YankeeScribe

    I told ya so

    Let’s atleast give Girardi the benefit of the doubt. He knows more than we do about AJ and Posada’s issues.

    AJ relies on his nasty curve and Molina is better at catching breaking balls than Posada. We don’t want AJ to feel shy about throwing his curve and with Posada behind the plate, that is more likely to happen.

    • Bob Stone

      I agree completely on this point.

      I am more than comfortable with the decision the Yankee brass makes here. I don’t think Girardi will make the Posada/Molina decision in a vacuum without extensive consultation with everyone from Cashman to his coaches and players.

      They have much more information than any of us. They have brought us a team that has won over 100 games, the AL East Title and the best record in baseball. I won’t second guess them on this one.

    • whozat

      “Let’s atleast give Girardi the benefit of the doubt. He knows more than we do about AJ and Posada’s issues.”

      Or, he’s just as prone to falling victim to “where there’s smoke there’s fire” reasoning as fans.

      Fact is that AJ has had plenty of excellent starts with Posada behind the plate.

      • Bob Stone

        Will Girardi will make this decision alone? Do you honestly think that the entire Yankee management brain trust will fall victim to “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” reasoning, especially in games as important to the franchise as the playoffs?

        I find that hard to believe.

  • Joseph M

    This postseason rides on 4 people, CC, AJ, Mo, Hughes, if these 4 perform up to expectations I think the Yanks will be world champs. If CC and AJ are better pitchers for whatever reasons when Molina catches then let him start those games. If we fall behind or need a pinch hitter Posada is there.

    I know Molina is as bad an offensive player as you can find but as we all know the talent mix that it takes to win in the regular season sometimes does not translate into winning in the postseason.

  • http://kikojones5.blogspot.com Kiko Jones

    I am sick and tired of seeing the Yankees turn into a NL lineup every time Molina, the guaranteed out, is in the game. Whatever AJ’s got in his head he needs to overcome and now.
    The Yankees could afford to do the Posada/Molina dance during the regular season but not in the playoffs and certainly not in the WS—knock on wood—where, as someone posted earlier you’d have Molina and the pitcher at the bottom of the lineup. Giving up Posada or Matsui’s bat in the lineup for Molina’s would be ludicrous.
    It’s not going to happen but if Posada is not behind the plate let it be Cervelli, who has shown he is either equal or superior to Molina in every regard. But he’s a rookie, so…

  • Pasqua

    On a slightly less-related note, the notion of Molina catching Burnett — if true — pretty much solidifies the assumption that Pettitte will be starting Game 2, and Burnett Game 3. I can’t imagine that Girardi would give Molina two starts in a five game series (which is what would happen in AJ pitched Game 2).

  • Tony

    Girardi’s bias in favor of career bench players/”grinders” is well known. His oft-mystifying managerial moves will be an issue this offseason.

    Insert: “But they won 103 games!”
    Insert: “It’s not hard to write that lineup”

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