Posada improving on the road

I’m diggin’ one of the great lost rockabilly classics, “Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache”. Somehow Sam Phillips of Sun Records never got this late ’50s track on a single, even as a B side; he was apparently too busy promoting guys like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis. You try to figure out a guy’s priorities, I tell ya.  

posada300_090409.jpgJUST A CRUMB ON POSADA
A few days ago, I said that it was good to see Jorge have some big games on the road, because his production largely favored All-Embracing Yankee Stadium the Deuce. This is still the case (.335/.403/.658 in the Bronx — funny how that doesn’t change with the team on the road), but the road production is now respectable, particularly for an elderly catcher, at .244/.327/.435. His overall rates of .288/.363/.543 are verging on the special. Catchers his age who have carried those kinds of numbers through a full season or anything like it number exactly one: In one of the great fluke seasons, the platoon catcher Greg Myers, a career .255/.313/.395 hitter, had a huge year at 37 for the 2003 Blue Jays, batting .307/.374/.502 with 15 home runs in 121 games. That’s the list. At 37, Johnny Bench was on the golf course. Bill Dickey was with the Great Lakes Navy team after a few years as a part timer. Yogi Berra was a reserve who hit .224. Gary Carter was just hanging on. Ted Simmons stopped hitting that way at 31. Ivan Rodriguez stopped hitting five years ago.

Carlton Fisk, Mike Piazza, Gabby Hartnett, they all had some good years on the aged side of things, but not quite at that level (though Fisk’s 1988, .277/.377/.542 is close when you adjust for context; unfortunately, he only played in 76 games). Ernie Lombardi hit .307/.387/.486 at 37, but against diluted wartime competition. Regardless of whether the new ballpark has given him a push, the fact is that he’s having a season that is a rarity in the annals of extreme veteran backstops.

It seems like only yesterday we were watching Jose Molina and Kevin Cash split the catching chores. What a reversal.

In the recent past, some teams have experimented with keeping the innings of their pitching prospects under control in the low Minors by designating tandem starters — every fifth day, John pitches four innings and Bob pitches four innings. This was scoffed at by many, and it was unthinkable that such a program would be undertaken in the Majors, and yet, here we are.

At this point, it is safe to say that no pitcher in history has been treated in quite the same way Joba has. Credit where credit is due to the Yankees for trying something different, something preventative, but wow — there are famous works of art that have been treated more harshly (I’m thinking Leonardo’s “The Last Supper” vs. Napoleon’s troops — final score Troops 1, Painting 0). I know I’ve been asking this question in different ways since the All-Star break, but the mystery goes on: What if saving Joba means destroying his effectiveness? What if you get what you wanted but lost what you have?
A bit on the dangers of a speed-based offense at Baseball Prospectus, and no subscription required to view. 


  1. midcoaster@gwi.net

    From what I can tell it looks like the Yankees are trying to turn Joba into another Bill Burback. Joba is pitching like a guy who will be long forgotten very soon.

  2. alvaritogt

    Hail to the Yankees for giving it a shot! Skipping every five games: didn’t work. Limiting innings per start: didn’t work. And what if nothing had been changed and Joba still wasn’t effective? Everybody and his mother would’ve criticized the Yankees for pushing Joba too much. Maybe he needs to go to the shelves thinking long term.
    So it’s CC, Petitte and forfeit?

    I just wonder if this days if someone like a Dick Tidrow would exist. A spot starter and occasional seven inning relief.

  3. petersavale@msn.com

    ” What if you get what you wanted, but lost what you have?”

    Kim. great question!!! Even a great quote…applies to many things, no?

    Joba will be fine next year; maybe even in the playoffs, but for sure next year. For now, everyone has to deal with this conflict of interests…those of the NYY, Joba, the press, and the fans. The NYY want to nurse a treasure, Joba wants to win ballgames, the press always wants a story, and the fans love the drama of it all.

    I have a 23 y/o son…doing well, just off to Lexington, Va. to finish his senior year in college, but to put it in baseball terms..he ain’t Tim Lincecum. Joba carries a ton of baggage with him everyday that he gets on the mound…His Dad, his Mother, his Son, playing for “The Boss”, he looks to his right and he sees Alex & Jeets; to his left Robbie & Mark, and behind the plate…Jorge. Who would not have edgy nerves?
    How, at 23, do you perform like “Doc” or Andy, or Mo? And I think that is where his problems reside…In his head. He has become some sort of “star” before he really is. The pressure on him to be perfect must be overwhelming. And, like “Doc” and Andy and Mo, sometimes he is, but like them,
    not always…But he is just 23…I cannot imagine how hard that must be…particularly on that stage…the biggest in sport. We make too much of his acclamation to his role as #4 starter. The NYY, Joba, the press, and the fans would all be better served if this topic was left alone…Joe Girardi should go back to last year and avoid the questions, or lie, either would work, and just let this kid grow up without the heat…he already brings enough…not only with his arm, but his head as well.

  4. petersavale@msn.com


    Your forgivness please for the misnomer…I just love Kim, and forgot that I was not reading her blog…

    I love you too, just not in the same way…:)

  5. jesseguerrero30@hotmail.com

    Wow, at 37 and still hitting, i guess not blocking the plate and using his alligator arms to catch really did pay off. So how does it work, put the blind fold on when catching and then take it off when hitting, sorry missed the memo! I guess you ONLY see the numbers!?

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