Earlier this week, the Yankees announced that Jose Molina would catch AJ Burnett in the playoffs. This comes after a season where hitters batted 50 points higher against Burnett when Jorge Posada caught him than when Molina was his backstop. So the decision comes as no surprise, but Posada’s reaction may surprise some people.
Jorge was visibly distressed when asked about the topic. The switch-hitting catcher seemed angry about the choice, but, in a rather childish tone said he “saw it coming.” Jorge and Burnett have had trouble all season.
If you have seen the games where Posada has caught the lanky righthander you can tell that it is an oft stressful relationship. There are more mound visits and more shaking off of signs than any other Yankee battery, and when something goes wrong, you can tell that each one blames the other party.
Posada is a solid catcher and much more of an offensive threat than Jose Molina, but Jorge has to take this and see it as a day off for the knees more than anything.
He will still get his at bats, most likely taking over the role of designated hitter from Hideki Matsui (who had a great year, by the way), but Jorge would be a great bat to have off the bench. I am sure Girardi would love to replace Molina in the lineup with #20 when Burnett’s night is done.
It is likely that Posada has gotten over this. He is just a competitor who wants to be out there for every pitch. Also, it may be hard for him to take this news when it comes from the guy who Jorge took the starting role from. It must still be odd for the few remaining Yankee veterans to have to hear from Joe. Surely the man demands some respect, but still he was a former teammate. Girardi was key to the ’96, ’97, and in a diminishing role, with the ’98 championship teams.
Jorge was ultimately the reason that the perennial homerun threat (by that I mean he hit one homerun a year) became expendable. Posada, who came up as an infielder, owes a lot of the talent he has behind the plate to his current manager. He should take this decision and move on, and do all he can to support Jose Molina.
Jorge is a veteran, and a guy who, despite his .236 career postseason average, knows how to get it done in October. By 6PM tonight, this is a non-issue.