RIP: Posada’s arm

I spent some time talking about Posada and 2011, his last year under contract:

So what’s going to happen next year when Posada will be another year older? It will be the final year of his 4 year, $52.4 million contract that he signed after Thanksgiving 2007. This contract, namely the 2011 year, is the biggest example of what I am always referring to the Yankees “hometown premium”. There was no reasonable, rational reason for the team to give Posada the fourth year, other than for nostalgia. It was unreasonable to expect Posada to remain at his age 36 (or earlier) performance levels through age 40, as a full time catcher. It was just unrealistic then and it’s even more troublesome now.  This hometown premium will rear its head when Jeter signs his extension and again as ARod ages (he’s signed through age 42, seven years from now).

This team is already aging in the core. Yes, there’s been a noticable trend towards getting younger, but the big guns on this team will need some DH/days off time next year, as they have needed this year.  And if Posada is unable to catch more than three of every five games, it makes things worse. Now, if Montero makes the leap in 2011 and plugs the void that Cervelli has been creating (since his early hot start), this is less of a worry. But no one is ready to count on Montero in this fashion, though I think every Yanks fan sure hopes so. It might mitigate the Posada Problem. Might.

Right now, I am just scared as heck to face the Rays and whoever we face in the ALDS  and watch them run with little fear of getting caught.

@Jason_IIATMS

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11 thoughts on “RIP: Posada’s arm

  1. jon

    Yup.  No arguments.  Can’t wait to resign Posada to four more years. (sarcasm, that)
     
    Just curious – just read that Posada and Cervelli are 3rd and 4th worst catchers when it comes to throwing out a base stealer — who are the schmoos that are worse, and do they also for World Series pretenders?

  2. CS Yankee

    ‘Sada is old, has never been great behind the dish but yet is amonst the best catchers in the game due to his stick.

    I don’t care if Bench, Pudge or Dickey was behind the plate, this was clearly a Mo issue whereas he wasn’t focused on the runners.

    It is what it is…Posada isn’t worth the money to almost every team but he is to the Yankees.  Borderline HOF, has won big and has played hard throughout.  Next year, if he catches 80 games, i’ll be surprised.  I don’t worry about the money to proven winners, I do to the AJ’s, Pavano’s of the world.

  3. CS Yankee: No question, Mo has to shoulder some of the blame on the SB, but Posada didn’t so much as get a throw off to 3B.  Both Kalish and Hall ran with little fear of getting nailed.

  4. I guess I’ll have to tolerate it for now, because the alternative is Cervelli, but I’m going to be pretty upset if Sado isn’t the primary DH next year.

  5. KeithinIowa

    You are going to say that Cervi in the 9th last night wouldn’t have made a difference?
    I am shocked they didn’t try to swipe home last night.  Jorge would have thrown to second I am sure!

  6. KeithinIowa

    But it may have been a plot the Yankees used last night to make Papllebum look bad in his last stop at Yankee Stadium in a Red Sox uni!

  7. Glenn G.

    Keith In Iowa, that’s an ok theory, but not the best way to go about it.

    Looking at it from the other way, the Sox actually gave the Playoff Teams tape & examples on how to beat the Yankees. I’d rather Mo save the game and walk off into the Playoffs instead of 2 great closers blowing the same game.

  8. Larry@IIATMS

    Jason, I think that the caught stealing percentage can be misleading standing alone.  First, it does not provide a game-wide context — you cannot look at the statistic and see the impact it has on an average ball game.  Second, it does not take into account a catcher’s ability (perhaps just by reputation) to discourage baserunners from TRYING to steal bases.
     
    So, let’s add a second statistic: the number of successful steals on average against a catcher per game.  Take stolen bases against the catcher as your numerator, and innings played by the catcher divided by 9 as your denominator. We’ll call our new stat SPG, for “steals per game”.
     
    Posada’s SPG is pretty bad this year: 0.93.  Among active catchers, only Victor Martinez’s number is worse (0.96).  But this isn’t exactly cause for panic.  We’re still talking about less than one steal per game.  Also, let’s consider that the average SPG among all catchers is about 0.59.  So Posada is allowing 0.36 more steals per game than average … about 1 extra steal every three games, or about 2 extra steals in a 7-game series.  That’s not exactly grounds for panic, particularly when you take into account that Posada is third in the AL in WAR.
     
    Remember all we read about how teams were going to steal bases like crazy against Victor Martinez, and that the Red Sox would effectively be run out of game after game?  As you can see from Martinez’s SPG, that didn’t exactly happen.
     
    Another interesting factoid for all of the Cervelli haters: Cervelli’s 2010 SPG is 0.68, pretty close to the league average.

  9. jon

    OK – like your numbers, Larry – even if they only prove that statistics can tell whatever story one wants.  As near as I can tell, Cervelli has a better SPG, simply because of his “reputation” as a defensive catcher.  Since I’ve real elsewhere (in posts by the Cevelli haters) that the only catcher worse than Posada in % is Cervelli.
     
    Do either of you know if Montero is any better at keeping baserunners from running?  Realizing that its AAA, but given that AAA players might be hungrier, and are almost for sure younger, one could expect more steal attempts in Scranton’s games.
     
    Makes no difference this year – I’m afraid every playoff team we play is going to watch the tape of Sunday’s 9th inning and be licking their chops.  Our best shot is for Mo to stop the stealing the way he used to – by keeping the batter off base.

  10. forged

    FWIW, baseball-reference.com has Cervelli at an oWAR at 0.8 and a dWAR at -0.8.  Posada is at an oWAR of 2.7 and a dWAR at -0.9.

     

    So that stat suggests that Cervelli is slightly better at defense than Posada, but is a significant offensive downgrade from him.

     

    So it becomes a question of what you think will benefit your team more both at this point in the season and during the off-season for next year?  I'm guessing in the playoffs (assuming the Yankees get the 1 win and/or Boston loss that is necessary to get there), Posada is going to get a majority (if not all) of the starts.

     

    However, the Yankees have proven that they are not content to rest on their laurels, so I'm guessing they will assess where they think they are for catching for next year during the off-season.

     

    At any rate, we know what to expect from the Rays playing the Yankees already.  They have faced each other already 18 times this year.  It may not turn out like we (Yankee fans) would like, but I would expect it to be a great series filled with compelling baseball play.

  11. Larry@IIATMS

    Jon, Montero’s defense is supposed to be “improving”, though the buzz seems to be that he’ll be a below-average major league catcher defensively.  His 2010 numbers: 99 SBs against, 30 caught stealing, 23% caught stealing rate.  He’s supposed to have a pretty decent arm.

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