- Face to face Brian Cashman informed Jorge Posada that he will be the Yankees designated hitter next season, The Post has learned.
Cashman met with Posada in Manhattan this week to tell the veteran to, as usual, prepare to catch, but the team's first option is to have youngsters Jesus Montero, Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine compete in spring training for the two primary jobs.
It is quite a risk to team an expensive, mostly veteran staff with such inexperienced catchers. But it is indicative of how much the Yankees believe Posada's defensive game has slipped in all areas.
As Jason points out, the Yankees' catchers in 2010 were really awful (according to one metric, anyway). Of course, the Yankees still somehow managed to win 95 games and come not that far away from the World Series. But you have to take the edges where you can find them, and behind the plate is the easiest place for the Yankees to look.
That said, I'm not sure this is really about defense. After all, Cervelli didn't exactly sparkle with the glove this season, and a lot of people still have questions about Montero's defense. Romine has a .330 career OBP in the minors and hasn't played an inning in Triple-A yet.
This seems more about Montero's bat and Posada's contract than anything else.
If Posada wasn't under contract in 2011, the Yankees would probably let him walk, and buy a designated hitter. But they still owe him $13 million and would like a return on their investment.
If Montero wasn't one of the better hitting prospects in the minors, the Yankees would probably let him percolate for a bit longer in Scranton. But just as it's time for Michael Scott to move on, Montero's been there long enough, too.
I do think it's too early to know how 2011 will go. The Yankees have four catchers who do various things well. It's just too bad for them that none of the catchers who can hit have much otherwise to offer. But hey, you can't everything. Not even if you're the Yankees.