Monday, May 16, 2011

Jorge Posada: A Team Player, or Whining Prima Donna?

By Adam Russell

I'm a little disturbed by the reports Saturday of Jorge Posada removing himself from the Yankees' lineup because of being dropped to ninth in the batting order. It's not that I believe a veteran who is not producing for his team shouldn't maybe make way for a younger player who might be able to put up better numbers. It's the timing of the whole thing and the alleged reason for him begging out of the lineup.

Here's the deal. Jorge Posada has been a great Yankee. He's been a great team player. But with this newest development, he's flushing all that down the toilet. While we haven't heard directly from Posada about the situation, the reported reason for him asking manager Joe Girardi out of the lineup was because he felt "disrespected" for being dropped to the bottom spot in the batting order. If that is true, I think he's forgetting some important facts.

The first is that if a manager drops someone in the order, it's usually due to that player not putting up the numbers needed to hold a higher spot. I'm sorry, but batting .165 is not exactly the type of production a manager wants from a hitter batting higher than seventh. If Posada wants a more "high-profile" spot in the order, maybe he should start hitting the ball.

Second, the Yankees have shown Jorge more respect than maybe he deserves by keeping in the lineup in the first place. Most managers would take a guy hitting less than .200 and keep him in the dugout, not keep him in the order. Simply by allowing the struggling hitter to grab a bat every night shows more respect and appreciation for what Posada has contributed to the team than by benching him altogether. Heck, Girardi could have easily told him that he was "giving him a few nights off" and not stuck him anywhere in the offensive lineup. In my view, keeping him in the order at ninth shows a great deal of respect and he should be thanking Girardi for penciling him onto the lineup card anyway.

Finally, as a veteran ballplayer and clubhouse leader, Posada's attitude should be that of Nick Swisher's, who got "demoted" to eighth in the order. He reportedly said, "If I need to be down there to help this team, I'm going to be there." If Posada was a true team player and loyal Yankee, he would accept his spot in the lineup and admit the fact that he deserves to be there based on his numbers. But instead, he's whining and complaining like every other overpaid athlete who thinks they deserve special treatment based on their years of service and contract figure.

The one thing that I really don't understand is what Posada's wife Tweeted during this whole situation. She blames her husband's sore back for him wanting out of the lineup. If that's the case, why are we not hearing about that from Yankees management? Why is not Girardi or Brian Cashman telling the media that Posada's back is too sore for him to swing a bat and he needs to rest it a couple days? If that is true, then the timing is extremely unfortunate.

I respect Jorge Posada, even though he does play for the hated Yankees, and have always thought him to be a class act. But if these allegations are true about his reasons for wanting out of the lineup, that level of respect will certainly decrease. Being 39-years-old with declining skills, and being paid as much as he is, Posada certainly has the wrong attitude.

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