Saying Goodbye to Jorge Posada

Posada says "no chance" of a return to the Bronx

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Posada's next time in a Yankees uniform will be on Old-Timer's Day.

    It wasn't hard to figure out where things were going between the Yankees and Jorge Posada.

    When the Yankees signed Russell Martin as a free agent last winter, you knew Posada was going to be playing less than he had in previous seasons.

    Then Brian Cashman told Posada he wouldn't be catching at all and wouldn't even be given a chance to show the team otherwise in spring training, a moment which, in retrospect, put the writing on the wall for all the world to see.

    Then came the fateful May night in Boston when Posada chose to take himself out of the lineup instead of hitting in the ninth spot and it seemed, for a moment, that the relationship between the player and the team wouldn't make it through the end of the season. 

    Cooler heads prevailed, but it was impossible at that moment to ignore that the Yankees had already moved on from Posada.

    Posada probably knew it then as well, but he never said a thing during the season to indicate that he had made the same mental shift. Now that the year is over, though, Posada is facing the facts of his baseball life.

    "It's not gonna happen," Posada said. "I don't think there is even a percentage of a chance that I can come back.

    Brian Cashman, so eager to tell Posada his career as a catcher was finished, has been circumspect about Posada's future for reasons known only to him. Posada's choice now is whether or not he wants to finish his career with a team that saw enough in his work against righties and in the ALDS, when he was the best Yankee hitter other than Robinson Cano, to bring him on board for the 2012 season.

    It would be odd to see Posada making mistakes on the basepaths in another uniform, something we never had to see from Bernie Williams thankfully, and it would be hard to see him turn in a season worse than the one he had for the Yankees in 2011. Posada has been a Yankee so long and for so many great moments that the thought of seeing him come to town as an Oriole or a Marlin just feels wrong.

    But it is his choice to make about whether or not he wants to sit on the bench for 90 or 100 games to earn a little bit more money. It won't change his place in Yankee history, where he will forever sit in that tier just below the Jeters, Mantles and Ruths as a player who contributed much to some of the best teams in franchise history.

    It also won't do anything to significantly help or hurt his chances at Cooperstown, a chance that will hinge on how much weight is given to his offensive value because of his poor defensive reputation. Given how few catchers have made the trip to the Hall of Fame, Posada's shot seems like a slim one but we'll see how the next few years play out before making any definitive predictions on that front.

    For now, it is enough to say that he should get his spot in Monument Park, annual showerings of affection at Old-Timer's Day and a shot on the rotation of past greats who throw out first pitches before playoff games. That's the due of every truly great Yankee and that is what Posada is as he walks away from the Bronx for good.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.