To those like me who were holding out hope that Jorge Posada might return to the Yankees for one more season, the long-time catcher has a message: “It’s not gonna happen”.
Speaking at a fundraiser for his charitable organization, Posada matter-of-factly stated what most people already suspected. Even though his announcement was far from official, the Yankees’ failure to offer a limited role suggests the feeling is mutual. In fact, Posada’s statement was really more acquiescence to that reality than a conscious decision to move on from the Bronx.
I will always be a Yankee. The New York Yankees, for me, is my second family. It’d be tough to put on another uniform for real and learn a new set of rules. But it’s one of those things where I have to see if I wanna keep playing.” – Jorge Posada, quoted by ESPNNewYork.com
It’s too bad the Yankees weren’t able to carve out a role for Posada, but thankfully, the two sides seem to be parting amicably. Unlike during the season, when Posada often bristled at signs of his Yankee mortality, the catcher’s attitude while addressing the issue suggested complacency. That’s good news for Yankees’ fans who value the legacy left behind by great players. So, instead of the contentious divorce some had feared, it seems as if Posada is set to go his separate way for the time being, but with the expectation of eventually returning to the fold. In other words, it won’t be 20 years before we see number 20 on the foul line during Old Timer’s Day.
According to Posada, there has been considerable interest in his services, and I must admit that I am torn about the notion of seeing him in another uniform. On the one hand, I would love for Posada to be a career Yankee, but I can also appreciate his passion to continue playing. That competitiveness is, after all, what made him so great. What’s more, if he can find a second home and put up solid numbers for a season or two, it might bolster his case for the Hall of Fame. If that happened, it would override any discomfort seeming him in something other than Yankee pinstripes or road grays.
The real question, however, is how comfortable will Posada be in another uniform? His wife Laura has expressed a preference to see him finish his career in Miami, which is close to their family home, but the most likely landing spot is probably with an American League team. Being such a fiery competitor, it doesn’t seem likely that Posada would be happy playing out the string on a non-contender, so the list of acceptable suitors is short. Perhaps the best fit would be Tampa, which could use more offense from behind the plate as well as a part-time DH. Otherwise, the most attractive option could very well be retirement.
Although Posada’s last at bat in pinstripes was a ground out to short stop, his real swan song was the team-leading OPS of 1.150 he posted during the ALDS. In that series, Posada played as if he didn’t want his Yankees’ career to end, and, in retrospect, that very well may have been his motivation. Perhaps the only regret from that series regarding Posada is the Stadium crowd was never really able to give him a proper send-off, but it’s never too late to say Thank You (and, a donation to the Jorge Posada foundation is the perfect way to do it). Jorge Posada was a great Yankee, and wherever the next season or two may lead him, his home will always be in the Bronx.