Jorge has done his part

On Jose Valverde
UPDATE: Sabathia available in Game Five, but not Verlander
(AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

Jorge Posada was a weight around the 2011 Yankees’ neck. Assigned the role of full-time DH, Jorge found himself in uncharted territory. While he’d DHed plenty in the past, and did it frequently in the 2010 season, it was nonetheless a huge change for him. Many players talk about how tough it is to play only half the game. Imagine how a catcher must feel in that situation. He goes from being involved in every play on the defensive side to being involved in none. Whether it was his role or his age, he produced below average numbers this season.

Once the Yankees figured out that holding him out against left-handed pitching would help mitigate the damage, things got better. On the season he produced 9.2 runs above average while batting lefty. Problem is, that’s not exactly a quality number for a DH. Worse, he produced -10.4 runs above average against lefties. Hence, net negative. His season ended on a sour note, too, as he went 0 for his last 11, lowering his average to .235 and his SLG below the .400 mark.

And yet Joe Girardi still declared him the DH against right-handed pitchers for the postseason. Against Detroit in the ALDS that meant every game, since Detroit brought along four right-handed starters. It felt like an odd decision, since it reduced Jesus Montero‘s role. Just before his debut, a Yankees exec proclaimed that Montero would be the team’s best DH option for the postseason. He seemed to prove that throughout September, producing a .421 wOBA in his 69 PA. That apparently was not enough to convince the Yankees’ brass.

Throughout the first four games of the postseason, Jorge has done nothing but vindicate the Yankees’ decision to stick with him. He has reached base in nine of his 15 PA, rapping a triple and scoring four runs along the way. He has accumulated .256 WPA in those games, and hasn’t been in the negatives for any game. In Game 2 he was central in a comeback attempt, producing a team-leading .143 WPA and following up Nick Swisher‘s ninth-inning homer with the aforementioned triple. If the Yankees had pulled out that game and closed out the series on Tuesday, there’s a chance that Posada could have been named MVP.

That’s still a possibility, of course. With a big Game 5 Jorge could finish off his mastery of the Tigers and drive the Yankees to the ALCS. But the Yankees shouldn’t have to lean on Posada once again. He has already done far more than was expected of him. It’s time for the big guns to step up and finish this one off. That means Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Nick Swisher. Jorge has carried all three on his back for the past four games, and that kind of heavy lifting will tire out even a peak athlete, never mind a 40-year-old.

To close this on a high note, there’s nothing to do but praise Jorge. He has come up big at a time when confidence in him has faded. Maybe he’ll continue that into tonight and beyond, but no one should expect it. Instead, it’s time to repay Jorge’s deeds. He set them up for a Game 5 showdown. His teammates can finish the job.

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On Jose Valverde
UPDATE: Sabathia available in Game Five, but not Verlander
  • ansky

    HIP HIP

    • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

      JORGE!

  • gc

    They don’t name MVPs for the division series, do they??

    • CP

      Nope.

      Although I remember seeing that A-Rod has bonuses in his contract if he is named MVP of the Division Series just in case…

      • CUYanks

        He almost certainly would have been named it in 2009 if they had it.

  • Tim

    It’s sad to think about him being on the Yanks next season…but, he will always be a Yankee. Even with a season of few ups and many downs, we were lucky to have him.

    • colin meyer

      Is he gonna stay with the Yanks,or is he leaving the game?Whats his future?

  • IB6 UB9

    Very happy for Posada. He’s definitely validated his post-season roster spot, though against the lefties of Texas it will be Montero’s turn. And I was happy to see Girardi use Montero as a pinch-hitter for Jorge (and stick with it after the pitching change). Loyalty but with a plan.

  • mike

    Ironically for all his times in the post-season, he never really carried his weight despite being in the playoffs for basically every season he was a pro

    Besides the big hit off Pedro, its hard to remember a signature offensive moment in the post season for Jorge, although he was pitched around like crazy after Clark entered the 2004 series against Boston.

    lets hope that this is his sawn song a la Matsui/damon, where a loyal soldier can ride off into the Pinstripe sunset with a big contribution

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    I do not want to rant that I told you so, but veterans like Jorge are the ones that come through for you in the postseason games. Jorge has vindicated himself for a poor overall season. As you say, now is the time for the big guns to fire away.

  • Jorge (needs a new name)

    No matter how many times you say it, Tim, it continues to be true. While atheletes spending that final year in a strange uniform is something we’ll endure time and time again, I really do hope Jorge hangs it up this year as a Yankee and never wears another uniform again. I’m still pretending Mattingly in Dodger blue isn’t actually happening.

  • Joe R

    Teixeira is batting .165 in 26 postseason games with the Yankees. Would be amazing for him to start hitting. Shit i’ll even take his .248 he posted this year at this point.

    • Gonzo

      It is sad to see him strike out to a change-up or pop-up. I think he’s got some big moments in the playoffs in him though.

    • Beachbum

      His swings are looking better and better. Two very hard hit balls last game – just BABIP gods at work. He is my pick for having a big moment tonight.

      • krazziness

        Same here – he (and A-Rod) look on the verge of some big hits!

  • Monteroisdinero

    As much as Tex sucks batting lefty he still needs to play 1B for defense. Too important a position to have Jorge there.

    Btw, loved the play Pujols made on Chase Utley the other day trying to go from 1st to 3rd on a grounder to the left side. Pujols came off the bag for the throw sacrificing the out at first to throw out Utley at 3rd by a mile. Smart play and one we better be aware of if we make it to play the Rangers.

  • Darren

    Assuming the Yanks don’t resign him (hey, ya never know), I hope Jorge goes to the Dodgers and he and Donnie Baseball sweep the Yankees in the WS next year.

    I guess my feelings for Donnie and hatred for Cashman and Girardi’s treatment of Jorge overrides my Yankee loyalty.

    Fuck those guys for what they did. They put themselves and their own egos over the good of the team. That’s why they’re assholes.

    • gc

      Cool story bro!

    • Accent Shallow

      Fuck those guys for what they did. They put themselves and their own egos over the good of the team. That’s why they’re assholes.

      When did this happen?

      • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

        didn’t they do the opposite of that?

        • http://twitter.com/#!/AngeloInNY Angelo

          My thoughts exactly…

    • Kibbitty

      …What?

    • Yank The Frank

      What is the color of the sky in your world?

      • Darren

        What was the purpose of Cashman telling Jorge before the season that not only was he not going to be the starting catcher, he was not going to catch at all?

        If that was to set expectations, why not just say, “We don’t forsee you doing any catching, but hey, you never know, we do want you to keep as fresh as possible in case of an emergency.”

        Why lock yourself into an inflexible approach when there is absolutely zero upside to the TEAM in doing so? It seemed more that Cashman had tired of Jorge’s defense (not that I blame him) and had a reactionary, childish approach to finally doing something about it.

        In other words, Cashman wanted to show he was a big swinging dick and he put himself above the good of the team by taking that approach. He could have easily showed Jorge more respect and it would have cost the Yankees absolutely nothing!

        If they kept that option open, Girardi also could have given Jorge a couple of starts at catcher to try and get him back on track when he started out so poorly as the full-time DH. You don’t think that would have been a move worth trying? To get his focus off of his 4ABs for a game or two? You try changing your job after 15 years and see how good you are at the new one.

        And why wouldn’t Girardi have gotten Jorge some time at catcher during a couple of blowout? You have the perfect situation to try and keep a 3rd string catcher fresh and it was squandered for no reason. You don’t think it’s conceivable that the situation might come into play where we could use the flixibility to put Jorge behind the plate?

        Sorry, there is absolutely zero reasoning behind removing an option from the team! It doesn’t mean you make any promises to Jorge, you just don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

        And please try and defend why Girardi dropped Jorge to 9th and then took his starting job away before nationally televised games agsint the Red Sox? How did the resulkting embarassment of a pretty great Yankee help the Yankees? Would have hurt the team to wait ONE DAY? Or to even do it a few days earlier?

        Either Girardi was incredibly tone deaf to the likely results, or he put his animosity for Jorge (dating back to when Jorge took Girardi’s job and continuing when Jorge wouldn’t follow Girardi’s pitch calling advice when Girardi was a bench coach for Torre) ahead of the good of the team.

        So yeah, that’s how.

        And the sky is a very nice blue right now, 5 miles south of Yankee Stadium, where I will be in 3 hours.

        • nsalem

          They did out of concern for Jorge’s health and the possibility of permanent brain damage if he suffered another concussion. You are totally clueless in relation to this issue.

          • Darren

            No, it was unclear if that was the reason as they never came out and siad that was the only reason. It would have been simple to so do. It seems fairly obvious that this was at least in part, an excuse. If not, why would they have asked him to catch in spring training? And why put him behind the plate in the Angels game?

            • nsalem

              Posada probably should have not caught those few innings against the Angels. I disagree with that decision. By the end of last year two things were quite obvious to everyone but Jorge, His catching skills had severely eroded and another concussion
              may have caused permanent damage. Posada is a human being who has the utmost respect of Girardi, Cashman and the Yankee organization. Him living a long healthy quality life in his years after baseball was the prime factor in their decision making. It’s your choice to see it another way, but it simply isn’t true. As time goes by you will find out that this was the case.

        • Peter R

          Cashman says it like it is…always has…but especially this year. That’s why I love him. Don’t you think Jorge would rather know the facts than being ignorant and hoping to catch sometime? Cash has no problem being the bad-guy and I think that is awesome. Lets Joe be the good-guy and I think it makes a fun dynamic in the org.

          And I for one am glad they picked Joe over Donnie. Donnie had no managerial experience, and from what I saw in LA this year…I am not impressed.

          Plus where you gonna put Jorge in LA? Wha? If anything he will go to a team like Tampa or Minnesota that needs hitting DHs…though that would require Jorge to hit which he hasn’t really show he can do regularly.

          I’m sorry man but if anyone is spouting their mouth on emotion it is you and not Brian Cashman. Jorge has had a great swan song year and if this is his last game in NY tonight, I hope he makes the best of it.

        • nedro

          So this conversation between Jorge and Cash…
          I take it you were there?
          Oh, you weren’t?
          Oh.
          Still, cool story, bro.

          • Darren

            You know the story of that conversation was widely reported, right?

            also, the “cool story bro” response is very played out. please stop.

    • nsalem

      Girardi has been loyal to Jorge all year. Was he supposed to keep on playing him against lefties when he was hitting .100 against them. He could have easily started Montero against lefties and righties in the playoffs and he would have had a reasonable rationale for doing so. Girardi did what he thought what was right for the team and fortunately it was the right move. Cashman giving a 4 year contract of 40 million is also indicative of the Yankee loyalty to Jorge. You are either ignorant, high or a Dodger fan or possibly some combination of all 3.

    • CS Yankee

      Blind loyality in friendship is everything; you might get burned but the alternative of not trusting others is far worse, IMHO.

      Blind loyality in the business world means death.

      The Yankees had better choices for manager (proven guy) and Jorge was lucky to bat ninth versus the BoSox when he was failing in his new role big time. Both survived (Donnie in LA, Jorge as platoon), and i bet neither are bitter today.

      • Darren

        I agreed with the selection of Girardi over Donnie. Donnie never seemed like a manager to me, but I’m glad he’s doing ok as one. I don’t think the Yankees did him wrong; my loyalty to him is just related to watching him play for so long, without getting a ring. Then again, if there is a Dodgers/Yanks WS, I’m sure I could easily change my tune.

        For the reasons listed above, I do think Cashman and Girardi did Jorge wrong. And more importantly, as I said, they put themselves ahead of the team for no reason.

        • CS Yankee

          The concussions concerns should never make it to the public for liability reasons…they did however. In not repeating those concerns/discussions reduce the their liability (both past and current), therefore they should not disclose it to the MSM.

          I don’t blame Jorge for the rant (long term anyways) but it was wrong to rant about batting ninth. Arod in his prime did not say squat to Torre when bump to eight in 2006 DCS although he was MVP-(like) for the entire year.

          Aging athletes (and the general workforce) usually doesn’t end well. Productivity and results decline with age yet everyone expects to be paid more (or the same)…some more than others. We all are faced with age and nobody has beaten it yet…Mo, Jeter & Jorge can have a career night or streak but their knowledge eventually can’t overcome their dying skills (bodies). Sad?, damn straight but it happens to everyone.

          Stay thirsty my friend, Jorge. Stay thirsty…

    • Kevin Grey

      Wow!

  • Peter R

    Might be Jorge’s last game as a Yankee tonight. Hope he makes the best of it.

    But of course I hope it isn’t his last game….lol

  • Pasqua

    At the very least, I’m happy that Jorge gets to go out at home. At the very most, he gets to celebrate nine more wins…and hopefully the ninth will be at home as well.

    Go Yanks!