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.?