"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Georgie Juiced One

Jorge Posada was originally in the Yankees’ lineup for Saturday night’s game against the Red Sox. He was dropped to ninth in the order. Ken Rosenthal said during a 4th inning report on the FOX telecast that Posada was fine with this. “Posada said, ‘I put myself in this spot,'” Rosenthal said.

Apparently, he wasn’t fine. Seventy minutes before first pitch, Posada went into Joe Girardi’s office. There was an impromptu meeting. Words were exchanged between player and manager. Former teammates. The last two men to hold the everyday catching job prior to this season. After their meeting, Posada was removed from the lineup in favor of Andruw Jones.

And so it was that modern methods of information distribution took over.

“At 6 pm, Posada went to Girardi’s office and ‘asked to be removed’ from the DH slot batting ninth tonight. There is no injury.” … So read the initial tweet from YES’s Kim Jones.

Bob Klapisch had an incredible string: “Posada clearly miffed at batting ninth, against Red Sox, on national TV. No doubt angered Girardi singling him out over Tex and A-Rod.”

“Constant, underlying tension between Posada and Girardi finally boiled over …” Wait, what?!? This is getting good.

“Posada initially put blame on himself for lineup change, then took it out on Girardi. No justification for what he did.”

From Ken Davidoff: “For those who ask why Posada got dropped while Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira spared: Posada is more disposable than those guys.”

And there may be something to that. Jeter won’t be dropped in the lineup. Not now. Not when he’s suddenly figured it out at the plate and has his average up to .267 thanks to 14 hits in his last 10 games. Two weeks ago, he was the guy the Yankees needed to drop in the order. He was the guy who was done.

Now, it’s Posada. Such is life for the 39-year-old, who at .165/.272/.349, is officially the offensive scapegoat on a Yankees team that despite leading the American League in on-base percentage and slugging percentage, entered Saturday’s action with a team batting average of .252, .236 with runners in scoring position, and its best hitter at .285. Posada has looked lost. A player suffering through an identity crisis. Having had to make an abrupt switch from catching 130 games a year to being the team’s full-time designated hitter, Posada has not adjusted well. He’s been open about his struggles to stay mentally focused.

Jason Giambi used to say the same thing when he discussed his troubles hitting as a DH versus his success at the plate when was in the lineup as the first baseman. He’d discuss how it was easier for him to be in the moment; being in the field helped him take his mind off bad at-bats. He wasn’t looking for something to do between at-bats. He didn’t gripe when Joe Torre would drop him in the lineup, usually to 6th or 7th, in an effort to “hide” him. He knew it was a message.

Sherman tweeted that the best comparison he could make to the events that took place Saturday was July 1, 2004, when Nomar Garciaparra refused to suit up for the Red Sox in the epic extra-inning game at Yankee Stadium when Jeter famously tumbled into the stands snagging a Trot Nixon foul pop. He was traded a few weeks later. Word is that the Yankees, if Posada chooses not to play tomorrow, could investigate terminating Posada’s contract.

There was a ton of speculation, ranging from Posada being ready to announce his retirement, to Laura Posada saying the situation was injury-related (“back stiffness”). Jack Curry spoke to Posada’s father, who confirmed that his son was not retiring. Jorge Posada, Sr, said that his son should have played. Cashman, during that FOX interview, said he didn’t know what Posada’s future was, and didn’t want to comment on anything beyond the events of the 6 pm meeting beyond the fact that Posada’s removal from the lineup was not injury related.

We were, and are, left with a series of contradictions. From a baseball perspective, something had to be done, though. Posada was the subject of much talk on WFAN earlier today. During Evan Roberts’ midday show, several callers chimed in saying either, “Take him out of the lineup,” “Move him down in the lineup, because something has to be done eventually,” or “Why not put him behind the plate, have him catch a few games to see if that gets his head right?” Do anything to get him on track to help instill some confidence, which could cause a trickle-down effect in the lineup.

Roberts said, “When is eventually? May 15th? I think you have to give it until July.” We now know “eventually” was May 14th.

The postgame pressers were illuminating: Some highlights from Posada: He saw a chiropractor, said he had back stiffness from taking ground balls at first base and “used that as an excuse to not play.” He went into the manager’s office and said he needed a mental health day. Kim Jones pointedly asked if he was weighing a bigger decision, and he said, “No. I still want to be here. And I love playing for this organization.” KEY: Posada didn’t tell Girardi or Cashman about his back. When a reporter informed Posada that Cashman, during the game, said the situation was “not injury related,” Posada said, “I didn’t know he made a statement during the game. I don’t understand that. That’s the way he works now.”

Girardi’s postgame press conference: Only two questions pertained to the game. Everything else was about Posada. The manager said the conversation was short, and that Posada told him “he needed a day.” He acknowledged Posada’s frustration at batting in the .100s, and how much of a struggle this season has been for him. He said that the situation was one that “we (the organization) would take care of.”

It wasn’t a good night for Girardi, aside from the Posada stuff. He was ejected in the 7th inning after arguing balls and strikes. His team lost its fourth straight game, this one by shutout, and went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Teixeira got just his first hit in 31 at-bats versus the Red Sox. Are we at rock bottom?

Will Posada be in the lineup for the series finale? Posada is 0-for-24 against LHP this season, and the Red Sox are sending Jon Lester to the mound. This could be another mental health day for Posada, who thinks he could play.

The “he said / he said / he said” will likely continue. Especially since Cashman spoke with reporters post-game, which led to the following quotes being tweeted by Davidoff:

“It’s disappointing. Georgie knew what I was going to say (during the game), as did his agents. … It’s a situation created by Georgie and it can be explained only by Georgie.”

Perhaps the most poignant message of the night came from Joel Sherman, via Twitter: “Hardest thing to do in management is handle fading stars as #Yankees finding out with Posada. Ego, history, fan loyalty etc complicates.”

The Yankees don’t need this right now, but unfortunately, that’s where we are. And they don’t need David Ortiz telling reporters that they’re doing Posada wrong. They need their pitchers to pitch better, their hitters, whether or not Posada is in the lineup, to start producing runs in clutch situations, all of which will lead to … duh, winning.

Won’t that solve all this b.s.?

Categories:  1: Featured  Bronx Banter  Game Recap  Staff  Will Weiss  Yankees

Tags:  DH  Jorge Posada  retirement

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1 Mattpat11   ~  May 15, 2011 12:38 am

This has to be the low point of the year, right?

In an interesting twist, when was the last time Joe Girardi came off as the most forthright, honest and likable person a Yankee scandal?

2 danrw   ~  May 15, 2011 1:10 am

An amusing side story was watching Nomah' squirm and smirk on Baseball Tonight when asked if this was like his situation during the Sox-Yanks game in 2004 that led to his trade. Nomar, relying on subtle techniques learned at the Sean Casey school of method acting, insisted through his grin that it was a fact that he didn't ask to sit out that game, but the Sox medical staff had taken him out despite his protests! This was more than amusing.

3 Just Fair   ~  May 15, 2011 1:26 am

Holy Shit. I missed tonight due to an event and all I knew was the Yankees lost 6-0 from a google text. Bronx Zoo 2.0.

4 joejoejoe   ~  May 15, 2011 1:44 am

Cashman, May 9th: "I am a firm believer that your best hitters should get the most at-bats, period. That's how you should construct a lineup. And Joe, I talked to him about what the lineup should be and I think over time that's what maximizes the value on your offense. We're currently trying to determine and decipher where one through nine we need to be offensively. (Manager Joe Girardi) is ultimately finding who he should and shouldn't be mixing and matching with."

Brian Cashman is driving so much of drama in NY. I can't say it's bad for the squad to resolve these things quickly (failing faster gets you more iterations to get it right) but whacking your own Hall of Famers in the press shouldn't be so easy. He's doing business like Michael Corleone.

5 William J.   ~  May 15, 2011 1:59 am

Most of the tweets seemed to be no more than speculation, which is understandable considering the night's events. I haven't seen anything credible enough to suggest this was anything more than a case of Posada being overwhelmed by the accumulating emotion of the day and asking Girardi for a mental day. I really don't see anything wrong with that. Unfortunately, Cashman added fuel to the fire by blowing the incident on national TV and then presumably investigating disciplinary actions.

[1] Girardi did come off well. His timing was still of, but he seems empathetic to the situation and aware of how difficult this must be for Posada.

[3] We all know what direction Michael took the Corleone family in. I don't think that's where the Yankees want to go.

6 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  May 15, 2011 3:29 am

[4] If Cash-Money is Michael Corleone then who is Fredo? And is Randy Levine then Hyman Roth?

[1] Low point so far..hopefully goes no lower. If Lester throws a no-no tomorrow then we know it's rock bottom..

7 OldYanksFan   ~  May 15, 2011 5:47 am

We all feel bad for Jorge, but this is not the first time in history something like this happened.

When ARod and Giambi were dropped in the order, neither were 'done', and neither were in their final year.

While I can certainly understand Posada's side, this is the nature of aging and decline in baseball. There is no personal insult here. There is ALWAYS someone batting 9th, and it's usually the guy who is the least productive.

Swisher was moved down from 6th (and sometimes 2nd) to 8th. Should he have sat out too?

I don't have the facts, but I will say Jorge got insulted, and then indignant... and made a mistake in his behavior. Hell, even his Dad said he should have played.

And we can count on this happening in the future with Jeter. Let's hope he handles it better.

The Yankees do what we want them to do. Try to Win. There is nothing personal about what Girardi does and has done. This isn't a game of 'who we like better'. I don't want Girardi/Cashman to act based on the TV schedule. It's a shame it happened on 'Fox Night', but thems the breaks.

The Yankees were prepared to pay Jorge his $72k to play last night. He should have been prepared to play.

I would also note that many players leverage a good year to get a 'too long' contract, where they are overpaid in the last year(s). And then they getted pissed when THEY decline and no longer contribute or earn their keep?

8 Sliced Bread   ~  May 15, 2011 7:52 am

oh for Tweet's sake. We don't know what's fact, what's conjecture, what's total b.s. This nonsense is exactly why I refuse to follow sportswriters on Twitter. I refuse to get caught up in the high school texting. Tweeting for tweet's sake.

9 Sliced Bread   ~  May 15, 2011 7:54 am

I'm referring to the in-game blathering.

10 OldYanksFan   ~  May 15, 2011 8:56 am

But we do know some facts:
1) Joe had Posada batting 9th
2) Posada pulled himself from the lineup, mentioning he had to clear his head. He did NOT mention any 'injury'.
2a) If Po HAD said he had back spasms, Girardi would have told that to the press. Girardi had ABSOLUTELY NO motivation to lie about that. Quite the contrary, his life would have been much easier to simply say "Yeah... his back is acting up, so we're giving him the day off.
2b) Had Po mentioned back spasms, my GUESS is he would have been receiving treatment during the game.

a) and b) and not known facts, but players being pulled before a game has happened thousands of times. We have seen what the manager says and what the trainer does. I think we can make safe conjecture here.

After thinking aout it and cooling down, Po felt badly for acting out of anger/humiliation. He probably felt really shitty and a bit 'scared' when it became a media event.

From Yahoo:
"In an unusual scene, the GM said Posada is not injured, but wouldn’t comment on whether he had been insubordinate."
.... Would NOT comment: ie: was NOT thrown under the bus

A person familiar with the discussion between Posada and the team told The Associated Press that he “refused” to play. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the situation was still not settled.

Have you ever said/did something out of anger that you regreted shortly thereafter? Especially if it blew up a bit?

Unfortunately, this is really a very small, common issue that was blown up by
1) it being the Yankees 2) the NY media 3) The fact it was Fox Night.

I don't think it's a big deal. I think Jorge should have played, but shit... everyone gets angry at times, and we know Posada is a red-ass. It's really no big deal, except for the media play. This is a situation where Po should say Sorry for not playing, Joe/Cash should say Sorry it turned embarassing, and then it will be done with.

By the way, didn't Po say he would have a press conference after the game? Did that happen? If it did, what went on?

11 randym77   ~  May 15, 2011 9:09 am

Alex said in the previous thread that Jorgie was probably "terrified his career is coming to an end." I think that's spot on.

I remember an interview a few years ago, where Posada talked about what it was like when former teammates came by the locker room to visit after they retired. He said it was great to see them, and catch up, but before long, there was nothing left to say, because you had nothing in common any more. He clearly saw a huge chasm dividing former and current players, and he didn't want to be on the other side.

This is reminding me of Bernie all over again. I still remember the first time Torre pulled him for a pinch-runner. Bernie looked so shocked and hurt. It was clear to everyone that he didn't have any more. Everyone except him.

Some players do walk away before they're forced out. Mike Mussina comes to mind. Torre said in his book that Jeter was the only player he knew who could walk away from baseball without missing it, but I wonder.

12 Raf   ~  May 15, 2011 9:11 am

[9] I don't think it's a big deal either. Now, it's a different story had Posada jumped the team, or left without making comments.

There was no press conference, Posada addressed the reporters at his locker.

13 randym77   ~  May 15, 2011 9:17 am

[9] Jorgie did speak to the press after the game. He more or less went along with what Cashman and Girardi said. Admitted that he didn't say anything about back spasms when he asked to be removed from the lineup. Said he did have back spasms, but also needed time to clear his head. Said he hoped to be back in the lineup today. Seemed shocked when they asked him if he was considering retirement. Expressed a bit of resentment at Cashman for talking to the press about the situation.

14 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 15, 2011 9:27 am

Checking back in after awhile away, to see what the Sages of Banter have to say about a depressing 10 days and Jorge ... happy to see OYF continuing to be a voice of reason (far as I'm concerned!). Posada is intense, emotional and undoubtedly scared/worried/stressed about his hitting. 0-24 vs lefties? Ouch. End of the line is hard for everyone, and the shift was sudden and extreme ... 9th isn't 7th or 8th, 9th is a major message. (Not a wrong one on the field, but pretty dramatic in itself, and as others said, on Fox, vs Bosox, at home ... nowhere to hide as you step up to bat.)

I don't think anyone wants this to be it ... though it is very possible I am wrong, that Yankees are ready for another DH (Montero being grabbed in fantasy leagues all over the place).

It is still - and I know I say this almost every year - mid May. But a bad time to be facing Lester tonight, have to say. Rain would actually be good (and I don't remember ever thinking that!).

15 The Hawk   ~  May 15, 2011 10:06 am

[1] "when was the last time Joe Girardi came off as the most forthright, honest and likable person a Yankee scandal?"

That's exactly what I was saying last night. It must be the End Times!

16 Will Weiss   ~  May 15, 2011 10:08 am

[9] There was some good, solid reporting and tweeting that went on last night amid the craziness. Sherman, Jack Curry and Ken Davidoff to name a few. And Kim jones may have had her best game in 5 years at YES. She was tremendous, both via Twitter and on camera. Girardi comes out of this looking the best, but this is a bad situation that will get worse before it gets better.

17 The Hawk   ~  May 15, 2011 10:14 am

I don't really see this as a very confusing situation. There's no real disagreement among the principles as to what happened. Posada didn't claim he'd mentioned the back or anything that contradicted what the other guys said. I think between watching the interviews with Cashman, Girardi and Posada, the picture is pretty clear.

18 Diane Firstman   ~  May 15, 2011 10:45 am

I was hoping for the headline "Posada's 9th Sympathy" or somesuch.

Here is an interesting take from Joe Sheehan:
If batting ninth is warranted by his performance, perhaps he should just bat ninth and accept it. The thing is, it isn't. When you look at the baseball of it, Girardi's decision to bat Posada ninth is indefensible in light of the players involved, their performances, their skill sets, and how Girardi has handled Derek Jeter.

. . . The bigger problem won't change, and that's this: the Yankees have explicitly created a system where everyone else runs on one track, and Derek Jeter on another. Gardner didn't hit for two weeks and was dropped to the bottom of the order, and has yet to return despite running a 972 OPS since then. Posada posted a poor batting average for six weeks and was dropped to ninth. Jeter has basically had one good game, is the team's worst hitter against righties, and continues to stay atop the order. There's all this focus on the Yankees' failures with runners in scoring position, and none on the fact that their lineup against righties, with Gardner eighth and Jeter first, nears maximum dysfunction. Moreover, this situation is only going to get worse as Brett Gardner's OBP climbs. Gardner was at .359 against righties entering last night, some 70-odd points above Jeter's mark.

19 rbj   ~  May 15, 2011 10:46 am

[2] Nomar did have two bad Achilles tendons. It did look bad at the time, and there were other issues. But in hindsight, his sitting (in accordance with medical staff orders) was correct.

I've worked at a job (child care worker for developmentally disabled & emotionally disturbed children - and you need both to get into the program) where we got two "mental health" days a year. jorge did screw up the handling of this, but I understand the frustration of the season; hell, I'm frustrated watching the entire damn team not hitting. Jorge can't catch anymore, due to concussions. It's not a lack of ability, it's purely a brain health issue. Coming to grips with that is not only frustrating, it's also scary: you can't do what you did before, you can at best have a limited role, not because you've got a bad knee but because your brain is damaged. And you aren't fitting in well with the new limited role and yes, there's frustration and anger and stuff. I'm willing to give it a pass for a few days.

What I really don't like is sports writers tweeting speculations without having a chance to go directly to the sources.

20 The Hawk   ~  May 15, 2011 11:02 am

[18] I disagree with Sherman. It's a false comparison, Jeter and Posada. First of all, Posada has been ATROCIOUS.Like bottom of the league BAD. Also along those lines I give the coaching staff the benefit of the doubt in how they size up the player's approach within the results, ie perhaps Jeter looked better than his production, or the problem seemed less entrenched than with Posada. They must have more faith in Jeter rounding into better form, if not classic Jeter form.

Jeter vs Gardner is equally shaky a proposition. Though I agree Gardner could or should probably be moved up to lead-off, Jeter has a much larger body of work to contrast with any cold streak he might be on. Gardner, when he starts stinking up the joint, it's easy to imagine he's just been a flash in the pan. Not to mention his lack of experience might dictate dropping him in the order so he doesn't put unnecessary pressure on himself.

The other problem with Jeter vs Posada is Posada was already batting 7th. Dropping him to 9th is not that large of a drop in the order. What are you going to do with Jeter? He'd have to go from 1st to 7th or 8th, something really dramatic. I just think all around the comparison or contrast is extremely faulty. That's not to say Jeter doesn't get special treatment - maybe he does. But in this cases there are enough reasons for the different approaches to these players that that doesn't necessarily factor in.

21 The Hawk   ~  May 15, 2011 11:23 am

[20] Oops just realized I said Sherman instead of Sheehan. Sorry bro

22 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 15, 2011 11:40 am

I'm with Hawk here. Why does the Posada story become the 'where should Jeter bat' story?' Moving Posada at .160 from 7th to 9th is a legit move. What to do at top of order on a given night is a different one to make. I'd have been more likely to SIT Posada for a game or two, if there was an obvious DH alternative vs righties, and that raises GM/roster issues.

There's a weird tendency for some to make everything be about Jeter. He can easily slide down the order, even to ninth on his stats, but that has zip to do with whether putting Posada down 2 spots was smart or not.

I'll acknowledge that that game, vs Boston, home, Fox wasn't all that great an exercise in 'player management'. Slumps do that, even to managers, maybe.

23 Chyll Will   ~  May 15, 2011 12:01 pm

Perhaps the speculation, when you examine the media, showed on a grander scale who is more reliable as an observer of this team and who is given more to their own bias and speculations; if all things were equal, who comes out looking more professional for trying to give the developing story due diligence vs those who reacted with conclusions in order to stay relevant to the growing audience. It's easy for the fans to speculate because we don't have immediate access to the principles, but I expect more from the reporters, some being more responsible than others, which prevented this from becoming a total disaster.

In the long run, cooler heads may have prevailed (how about that, Girardi's poll ratings went way up) and what is ultimately a method to try to get the team on the right track did not turn into a public relations or organizational meltdown on national television (despite FOX's best efforts to mine ratings gold). In short, some of the reporters earned their stripes and some should be put on KP duty...

24 Raf   ~  May 15, 2011 12:08 pm

[18] Problem with Sheehan's take is that Gardner has batted 9th more often than not.

25 The Hawk   ~  May 15, 2011 12:23 pm

The problem I have with the media in this case is the speculation was off the charts. During the game they went nuts trying to figure something out that was going to be addressed in a couple hours, fine; typical. But even after everyone involved had their say - and there was really no daylight between each account - media speculation continued seemingly unabated.

26 a.O   ~  May 15, 2011 1:00 pm

This whole thing is just sad. I just hope (against reason) that Cashman and Girardi have the wisdom to see that this needs decisive action. The good of the team demands that this not drag out. Either cut him now or forget about it and keep him in the lineup. Even if it's the latter, how much longer can we go with our DH hitting like this?

27 Simone   ~  May 15, 2011 3:35 pm

Poor Georgie. I think that the Yankees should do more to help make the adjustment to DH before giving up on him.

28 Chyll Will   ~  May 15, 2011 4:30 pm

[27] How?

29 Cronin   ~  May 15, 2011 5:26 pm

Georgie faced a dilemma that most are overlooking: the indignity of batting ninth and then going hitless. Still, the gutsy thing would have been to bat ninth, determined to get a couple of hits. He is a starter, he was placed in the order. Given the message that his actions send to other players, especially the younger ones, I thought Girardi's press conference was generous. Imagine players lining up for their mental health days when they are embarrassed in advance about how they might perform.

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