Jorge Posada, who was invited to be a guest instructor at Yankees’ camp this Spring, hasn’t appeared in Tampa yet but he talked some baseball this morning with Jim Memelo and Jeff Nelson of Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio.
Among the topics discussed: Mariano Rivera‘s comeback, Kevin Youkilis as a Yankee, Derek Jeter‘s return from ankle surgery and most importantly, at least in my opinion, the Yankees’ current catching situation.
Posada knows a lot about catching for the New York Yankees so his perspective is certainly more welcomed than someone who never played the position. On the competition itself, Posada said, “Obviously whoever has the best spring is going to start. That probably changes throughout the year. We’ve got three young catchers and we’re going to hopefully look forward to seeing them compete. This is what baseball is all about. You don’t get the job, you earn the job. I think it’s going to be good.”
He also had something to say about Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine – two of the contestants in the Yankees’ version of “So You Want To Be A Starting Catcher”: “Cervelli, very energetic, very athletic, very quick behind the plate. He has a good arm. He’s a lot more mature now so I think it’s perfect timing for him right now. Romine, obviously a little younger, smart kid behind the plate. We like him very much but they don’t want to rush him, so we’ll see. He’s got a shot too. We’ll see what happens in the spring.”
I’m not so sure about the great arm thing in regards to Cervelli unless “great arm” is code for “able to throw the ball into centerfield with ease.” I seem to recall that sort of thing happening a few times with Cervelli behind the plate. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not as anti-Francisco Cervelli as some people in the baseball blogosphere or Yankees Twitterverse but he doesn’t exactly make me confident when he’s behind the plate. to his credit, Cervelli opted out of playing in the World Baseball Classic in order to fight for the starting catcher job so he’s taking things very seriously and it will be interesting to see how he does.
As for Romine, the main concern with him, is his health. He’s had back issues and missed the majority of the 2012 season with injuries. If he can remain healthy this Spring – and he was able to stay healthy while playing the Arizona Fall League late last year – he has a good chance of making some waves and giving the Yankees coaching staff something to think about. Another factor with Romine is his age and lack of Major League experience. Cervelli has caught some of the guys in the starting rotation in the past so the edge could be given to him for that reason.
Sometimes a competition brings out the best in players and Posada didn’t even address Chris Stewart who is the third player in this equation. It’ll be interesting to see how the guys respond to the scrutiny they receive this Spring because there will no doubt, be article after article dissecting this starting catching competition and hopefully the attention won’t turn into a negative for any of the players involved.
And may the best man win.