I wrote yesterday about Jorge Posada’s plans to continue playing next season and how that almost surely would mean leaving the Yankees, speculating that he’ll have a very hard time finding a guaranteed job because the market for 40-year-old designated hitters with .388 slugging percentages isn’t going to be pretty.
It sounds like Posada had that same realization, because last night he told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York that he hasn’t given up on being a catcher even if the Yankees basically did everything possible to avoid putting him behind the plate for even spot duty this year:
I could catch next year. I could have this year. I could have been a backup this year, could have backed somebody up.
Technically he’s right, but only in the same sense that I could be, say, an underwear model. Wallace notes that he hasn’t caught a single inning all season, including spring training, and that’s because the Yankees were terrified of Posada behind the plate after watching his defensive skills deteriorate in recent years.
I’d be shocked if there’s another team out there willing to let him catch again, at age 40 and after a year off from playing the position, although in fairness the odds of that happening probably aren’t considerably lower than the odds of another team wanting him as a full-time DH.
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.