All of the focus on Derek Jeter's contract and Cliff Lee's free agency has made it easy to forget that there are other issues of note for the Yankees this offseason. One of the biggest ones centered on what to do with Jorge Posada in the 2011 season.
Posada's not leaving the team, but it has become clear over the last few years that he isn't up to the rigors of being the team's everyday catcher either. He gets hurt far too often and he's getting so scary bad defensively that it's a wonder that he wasn't given a Gold Glove award on Tuesday. The Yankees also have several good catching prospects in the pipeline, starting with Jesus Montero and Austin Romine, and a need to keep them moving forward through the system to find out if they are part of the future.
Brian Cashman has weighed in and said that they are part of the immediate future. In news broken by Jorge's wife Laura on Facebookand Twitter, he met with Posada in Manhattan recently and told the veteran that he will primarily be a designated hitter. According to the Post, Posada took the news well, which is something of a surprise because he's long been opposed to any discussion of his future behind the plate and had been quite clear that he hates being a DH. That aversion to the DH role has played out at the plate, but the sample sizes are so small that it seems silly to really view that as a problem.
The plan right now is for Montero, Romine and Francisco Cervelli to battle for two roster spots this Spring. There will certainly be doubters who think the Yankees are crazy to potentially hand the catching spot to two rookies, but anyone who watched Buster Posey lead the Giants to a title will know that it can be done and should be done if it means getting the best players in the organization into the lineup. Posada is too good a hitter to think he won't adjust to a regular DH spot and the fact that he'll be healthier should make him an even bigger part of the attack next season.
While this is almost certainly the best move for the Yankees and Posada, especially if he wants to keep playing past 2011, it is still hard to imagine a Yankees team without Posada behind the plate. When he first became a regular on the team, you weren't guaranteed to have an e-mail account all your own and now his move off the plate is being announced on Facebook and Twitter. That's a pretty long run in one spot and, as such, another reminder that the Yankees are dealing with more than just players when Posada, Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera are involved.
Posada appears to have made things easy -- the fact that he needed to have knee surgery on Wednesday probably helped him swallow the news -- and now we'll see if Jeter will be so magnanimous.