Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bye-Bye Jorge?

Here's a conversation-starter from New York Daily News columnist Bill Madden:
Poor Benji Molina, who weeks ago found himself without a chair when the music stopped and still is looking for a team. What were the odds that Alan Embree (Padres), Fernando Vina (Mariners) or, for that matter, Bret Boone would get jobs before Molina, who hit .295 with 15 homers and 69 RBI last year? Molina turned down three years, $21 million from the Mets and will probably wind up with a one-year deal from the Blue Jays. But now that Molina can probably be signed on the cheap, maybe the Yankees should consider signing him and releasing Jorge Posada (who they have to pay anyway next year) in order to save themselves $12 million on the '07 option that kicks in if he starts 81 games in '06? Just a thought, although they would probably have to first consult with Randy Johnson.

Now, this is just something provocative from a Sunday columnist on a slow, slow week. The rest of the column is about how Mark McGwire won't get into the Hall of Fame on the first try (man, that story should only be worth about eight or nine thousand words to Madden between now and next January), pot shots against John Thorn and Jeff Bagwell, praise for pitching coaches who cheated during their playing careers (stark contrast to the vitriol targeted at McGwire, when steroids weren't even banned in baseball during McGwire's career) and pimping baseball banquets, including one he runs. Nice.

The idea that Jorge's gonna give way to Benjie Molina is pishposhed in Murray Chass's New York Times column:
Some speculators thought the Yankees might trade Posada and sign Molina, but Cashman scoffed at the idea.

"We've never tried to trade Jorge Posada," he said. "I've had teams express some interest in him, but I've never picked up the phone and made a proposal for Jorge Posada. But that's been written about quite often."

The theory behind the idea that the Yankees would trade the 34-year-old Posada stems from the option in his contract for the 2007 season. If he is the starting catcher in 81 games next season, the option becomes guaranteed for $12 million and he receives an option year in 2008 with $4 million guaranteed.

Now, Jorge has shown definite signs of decline, is 34 years old, and is going to be making big money for the next two years. Meanwhile, Benjie is three years younger, has a better defensive reputation, and was only three points of EqA behind the Yankee backstop.

But isn't it supposed to be the "real baseball people" (and mainstream sports columnists always put themselves in that group) who cherish the leadership that a Jorge Posada brings to the table, the hard-nosed winner-ness that comes with Posada's collection of World Series rings? My money says that if the Yanks took Madden's advice, by mid-June he'd be flaming them for having let the "heart and soul" of the team leave.

What do you think?


Patrick said...

I like Jorge. I don't want to release him, etc. I wouldn't mind seeing us sign Molina though and having them share time. Posada could DH a bit.

Matt said...

I think looking for consistency and sense in sportswriters is harder than roping a steer with dental floss, so yeah, you're probably right about Madden's potential reaction.

Certainly wouldn't mind having Molina though, it would certainly keep Jorge fresher if you have a backup who could be a starter.