Platoon DH situation arising

It’s pretty clear that Joe Girardi is employing a platoon DH situation with Andruw Jones and Jorge Posada. As we all know, Posada’s been absolutely useless against left handed pitchers this year. He has a .109 wOBA against them and STILL hasn’t gotten a hit against a southpaw in 2011. Jones, on the other hand, has predictably crushed lefty pitching to the tune of a .393 wOBA heading into yesterday’s game. On the surface, the platoon DH obviously makes sense.

Posada, though, didn’t exactly light the world on fire in May. He had a nice OBP of .342, but his slugging percentage was only .297. Overall for the year, his wOBA vs. RHP sits at .328 (.211/.312/.422), but that includes April. In May 2011, Posada hit .250/.354/.339 against righties, which was good for a .325 wOBA. That’s okay, I guess, considering the relatively depressed offense this year, but it’s not desirable out of a designated hitter. Jorge had better be thanking his lucky stars that Eric Chavez isn’t healthy. If Chavez was healthy, I think we’d see him leeching at bats against righties from Jorge.

For now, I’m content with the platoon DH situation. I usually don’t love that sort of set up, but with Posada’s complete lack of power and Jones’ lefty mashing ability (.319 IsoP vs. LHP before Wednesday), I’m cool with it. How long they stick with it, though, is anyone’s guess. They did it last year after the Lance Berkman trade and if the Carlos Beltran rumors start to get legs (I will be the one to supply it legs if I have to!), we could see a solution: one DH with Posada as a bench player and Jones as the fourth outfielder as intended.

A Jesus Montero promotion could also complicate things. He has shown a bit of a platoon split this year (.681 OPS vs. RHP, 1.105 vs LHP). I’m sure the organization is aware of that and despite those struggles against righties this year and if he were promoted, they’d still look to get him as many PAs as possible. This platoon split is definitely the exception and not the rule for Montero, though, and if he’s with the big league club, he’s going to see the plate as much as possible. With Russell Martin playing so well, though, I think we’d see Montero as the most-of-the-time DH while catching a game or two a week (barring the acquisition of another bat to DH).

Anyway, it’s June 2nd. We’re about a third of the way done with the season and Posada has yet to come around. The clock is most definitely ticking and my patience is wearing thing with Jorge, as much as I love him. There’s a paradox, though. I want him to break out of his funk, but at this point, it’s looking less and less likely that he’ll do that. The only way he’s going to do it is if he gets playing time, but he has not earned that to this point. If he doesn’t pick up some power against right handed pitchers in the next few weeks, I’d be very glad to see him turned into a bench player while Chavez gets more PAs as the vs. RHP DH.

3 thoughts on “Platoon DH situation arising

  1. Duh, Innings!

    Here’s the problem with keeping Posada until September when the rosters expand: it severely weakens the bench, which becomes only three guys (Cervelli, Dickerson, Nunez) and a barely fourth guy (Posada.) That’s a pretty bad bench because Cervelli can’t hit and is no great shakes as a backup catcher, Nunez can’t hit for power or play good defense when he’s in there, and Dickerson is still a mystery despite his nice play when in there so far.

    Cervelli is the backup catcher, Swisher is the backup firstbaseman, and Posada is unacceptable in either role. Posada can’t play anywhere else in the field and certainly can’t bunt or pinch-run. That means Jorge is a pinch-hitter you can’t put in the field and a bad platoon DH who is taking DH rest days from A-Rod, Teixiera etc. The remainder of his $13.1M salary this year is absolutely untradeable and he’s a 10-And-5 Player who could veto any trade. He may have a blanket no-trade clause anyway. Putting him on waivers is telling him “We don’t want you anymore.” and he’s still on the team. That’s awful. It’d be even worse when no one claims him. That’s horrendous. The Yankees can’t bury Posada on the 60-day D.L. or put him on the restricted list, and no way he’s taking a leave of absence. I don’t think you could buy him out and that’s like putting him on waivers only no one is claiming him.

    Because Posada has been a lifelong Yankee and has done what he’s done as one, I would give him until the All-Star break (through 7/10) to turn it around, and if he doesn’t turn it around, I give him three options:

    1. Release.

    2. The option to retire to avoid being release (you don’t tell him to retire of course – the threat of release forces his hand to think about retirement.)

    3. Assignment to AAA 7/14-8/31 and a return 9/1 or earlier if his replacement Jesus Montero isn’t getting it done with the Yankees, and don’t tell me “You can’t demote Jesus Montero” when you can and should if he’s hitting like Posada is now. The Yankees once demoted Bernie Williams, he sucked it up, worked his way back to the big club, stayed there, and did what he did. All this damn hype over Montero better pay immediate dividends considering the Yankees could’ve or most likely would’ve got Cliff Lee by trading Montero for a Sabathia/Lee/Pettitte/Hughes, Burnett-less postseason rotation last year and a Sabathia/Lee/Hughes/Burnett/TBD rotation going into this year. I wouldn’t even have minded trading Montero in a package for Lee and Lee splitting for Philly or wherever after last season if the Yankees won last year’s World Series. We got Lee, he helped the Yankees win it all, all the best to you with your new team, Cliff.

    ‘Say #2 isn’t happening i.e. Posada isn’t retiring and #3 is out of the question i.e. Posada will refuse it. He must be released. Who could he go to? If he signs with an N.L. team, good, he’s out of the league and the only way the Yankees would ever face him in a game this year is in the World Series. If he doesn’t go to the N.L., what A.L. team could he realistically sign with? I couldn’t see him being the ultimate turncoat and sign with a division rival. You could argue he’d be right in doing it cuz the Yankees released him, but not really cuz the guy sucked and grumbled about being a DH before the season, so he’s not 100% righteous. If he doesn’t sign with an NL team or a division rival, he has nine teams to choose from. Does an AL Central or West team have a want/need for a 39-year old bench player who can’t play the field or insofaras what he’s done this year, hit?

    Hideki Matsui is the As DH. Jim Thome is the Twins DH. Would Posada want to finish this year and possibly his career with either of those two, the Royals, or the Mariners? I don’t think he would.

    Option #4 is keeping Posada, but again, it’s turning the Yankees bench into a 3.X man bench.

  2. David, Jr.

    An absolutely awesome analysis. The only thing I disagree with is “immediate dividends” in reference to Montero. A guy who is 21 with unlimited hitting potential (Baseball America: “One veteran scout said he is the best hitting prospect he has seen in years”) needs to be allowed to find his way in MLB. He should at least be given as much “rope” as a 39 year old veteran player.

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