Archive for September 9th, 2011

Jesus Montero’s major league debut on September 1 was one of the most anticipated arrivals in recent Yankees’ history. So much had been written and said about the 21-year old catcher that his promotion at the beginning of the month almost felt like a second coming. What’s more, the early returns have seemed to justify the heightened expectations. Although Montero may not be a “savior”, with an impressive line of .353/.450/.706 in 20 big league plate appearances, he could be on his way to becoming the most impactful September call-up in recent memory.

Montero's promotion served as the symbolic end to Posada's Yankee career.

Montero’s ascension to a semi-regular role all but marks the end of Jorge Posada’s time in pinstripes. Although the veteran is likely to crack the lineup a few more times before the month runs out, it’s increasingly looking as if he won’t be a part of the post season roster. If so, Posada’s Yankees career will end just as it started: as a cheerleader on the bench during October.

When the Yankees signed Montero as a 16-year old in 2006, Posada was still an All Star catcher. In fact, in 2007, he had the best season of his career. Nonetheless, when Posada was given a four-year extension after that successful campaign, the overwhelming expectation was the new contract would lead right into the Montero era. As things turned out, when the kid was promoted to replace the veteran, it was as a DH, not a catcher, but still, the transition’s symbolism is clear.

The rapidly approaching end to Posada’s pinstripe tenure has been mostly overshadowed by the early brilliance of Montero’s burgeoning big league career. Although excitement about the “next best thing” is certainly justified, Yankees’ fan shouldn’t be quick to cast aside Posada without first realizing they are saying goodbye to a potential Hall of Famer.

Although some might dispute the notion of Posada as Cooperstown worthy, his credentials are compelling. Unfortunately for the Yankees’ backstop, his career happened to coincide with arguably the greatest offensive (Mike Piazza) and defensive (Ivan Rodriguez) catchers to ever play the game, so it’s easy to see why he is sometimes overlooked in Hall-related discussions. Despite these formidable contemporaries, however, Posada’s statistical record still stands out.


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