Jorge Posada was demoted as the Yankees’ catcher for the 2011 season, which turned out to be his final season in the bigs. He didn’t much like it at the time. He’s still mad about it, according to his new autobiography. The New York Daily News has excerpts:
“I’ll put this as plainly as a I can. When you take me out from behind the plate, you’re taking away my heart and my passion . . . I knew that my role with the club was changing, but I don’t think that anyone making those decisions knew how much the things being done hurt me . . . To have even that taken away from me without adequate explanation, hurt me and confused me . . . I felt like I wasn’t being treated right, that people weren’t always being as straightforward with me as I wanted them to be or treating me as I deserved to be treated, and I exploded.”
It seems pretty clear that his ire was and still is with Joe Girardi, who he claims didn’t communicate with him well and with whom he did not have a great relationship. Of course, one hopes that Posada also admits in the book that, back when Girardi was the Yankees’ bench coach in 2005, Posada routinely ignored his instructions and scouting reports. Maybe Girardi, once he became the manager, had a duty to set aside personal issues from the past, but it’s somewhat understandable if Girardi did not spend any extra time attending to Posada’s “heart and passion.” The two had a history.
The fact of the matter is that players get old. And Jorge Posada was not immune to that. He missed much of the 2008 season due to injury. He Was limited to 100 games behind the plate in 2009. In 2010 it was 83. He had meniscus surgery. There were better defensive options available to Girardi who, as everyone knows, is tasked with winning baseball games, not worrying about Posada’s ego and professional identity. Heading into 2011 at least, it seemed like Posada’s bat was still sturdy. He made perfect sense as a DH and taking away his catching duties seemed like a good way to help his body stay in playing shape.
Again, if the position change was not handled with a basic level of respect and communication, that’s bad on Girardi and the Yankees’ part. But one wonders how taking Posada off catcher would’ve played even with the best communication. Players have egos. Those egos are part of what makes them elite. It’s not too often that careers end with grace or with the player doing everything he wants on the playing field. Posada was no exception, sadly.