Details: Jorge Posada signs a four-year, $52.4m deal to stay with the Yankees.
Optimist’s argument: Unthinkable for him to be in another uniform, Posada has had a great career with the Yankees and his 2007 performance showed that he’s still got much to offer. As the premium catcher on the market, New York would have taken a big hit if they had lost him because in many ways he is irreplaceable. His experience behind the plate and in the clubhouse will be vital for the the Yankees’ young hurlers in 2008 and beyond. It’s a relatively large amount of money for a man of his age, but he’s worth it.
Pessimist’s argument: It’s the age old story: club stalwart has a great campaign in his walk-year, he asks for the earth and the team can’t say no. Four years for a thirty-six year old catcher? It’s going to end in tears. He’s not going to repeat his 2007 performance again and the impact a veteran catcher can have on young pitchers is grossly exaggerated.
Voice of Reason: Given his age and his fielding position, this is a great deal for Posada and it’s fair to say he has earned it. Ideally the Yankees wouldn’t have wanted to stretch to four years, but the Mets were prepared to do it by all accounts so they had little choice. Look at the other options out there. Who could the Yankees have signed to replace Posada? There’s a big drop-off to the likes of Barrett, Lo Duca or Torrealba on the free agent market and the Twins, Dodgers and Braves would rightly want Phil Hughes plus a couple of other quality parts for Mauer, Martin or McCann. Any way you look at it, the Yankees have made the right move. The one problem with this contract is that Posada’s performances could take a sudden nose dive, making him an expensive problem. For anyone else, that might make me more cautious. With the Yankees, that problem is minimized as they can afford to eat the contract.
Wider Impact Rating: 6. Most people thought Posada would stay with the Yankees, so this deal isn’t going to send shock waves throughout the Majors. Had the Mets been successful in tempting him to Queens, it would have been a different story. That’s where the real impact will be felt: the Mets picked up Johnny Estrada instead and there’s a big difference between the two. Posada’s value is so much higher than the other free agent catchers that it’s unlikely this will have an inflationary effect on their demands.