Will Jorge Posada and Jason Varitek Retire?

Sunday December 4th, 2011

Sam Evans: Between these two catchers, they have six World Series rings, eight All-Star selections, and nearly five hundred home runs. There is no question that Jorge Posada and Jason Varitek were two of the best catchers in the last ten years, if not major league history. Unfortunately, the last two years everything has changed for both of them. Now, with the organizations they both have spent their whole respective careers nudging them out the door, one has to wonder what will be the next chapter for these two superstars.

Jason Varitek:  Tek has always been a step below Jorge Posada. He is recognized as a great game caller, but he is not an especially strong offensive catcher. At Varitek’s peak in 2004, he batted .296 with 18 home runs and a .390 OBP. He helped lead the Red Sox to their first World Series in eighty-six years.

In 2008, Varitek really fell off a cliff in terms of offensive production. In the following years, he wouldn’t be able to get back to what he once was. I think the Red Sox have only kept him around the last three years because he is a great veteran in the clubhouse and out of loyalty and respect.

Varitek is now 39 years old, and without a contract. In 2010, Varitek was signed by the Red Sox for one year at $2 million. This offseason, he should be looking for a similar contract where he can mentor and back up a young catcher. I think the perfect team for Varitek is the Houston Astros. Houston has no catchers over twenty-five, with none of the catchers on their roster being highly rated. If Varitek could just come to Houston on a one-year deal and call two to three games a week, I think that would be the best scenario for both sides.

There is always the chance that Varitek will want to retire as a Red Sox and as a result, he could retire this offseason. As for Varitek’s chance at the Hall of Fame, I don’t really think he has a strong enough case. He never dominated the field, and he was never the best player at his position. He will be remembered for helping Boston reverse the curse but not as a Hall-of-Famer.

Jorge Posada:  Posada certainly had a more successful career than Varitek. He won four World Series, and helped define Yankees baseball over the last decade.

Posada has 275 career home runs, but he has never hit more than thirty in one season. His career batting average, .246, is not very impressive. Posada has always had the power, he is just missing a lot of other skills. He is not known as a great defensive catcher, as was shown when the Yankees decided to move Posada to being their everyday DH for the 2011 season.

2011 turned out to be a pretty rough season for Posada. In May, Posada asked for a day off against the Red Sox. In any normal baseball city, this wouldn’t be a big deal. However, in New York, things are different. Posada ended up apologizing and GM Brian Cashman had to write a press release. Posada finished 2011 with a .235 BA, .309 wOBA, and 14 home runs.The highlight of his year was in the ALDS where Posada was 6 for 14 with a .579 OBP.

I would be surprised if the Yankees plan on having Posada back as their starting DH for next year. They can’t risk weakening their team just to make sure a player’s feelings don’t get hurt. Every member of the Yankees core-four are seeing their career come to a slow end. I am curious to see if Posada does decide to keep playing baseball in 2012, whether he chooses to market himself as a DH or a catcher.

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated wrote that Posada will play baseball next year if he finds the right opportunity and the Marlins are a possible suitor. I don’t see Posada providing much on-field value, but if the Marlins are looking for a veteran who knows how to win, Posada would be a perfect match.

Similar to Varitek, Posada just didn’t have a strong enough career to make the Hall of Fame. He will be remembered as a great person, and one of the Core Four that defined this new age of Yankee baseball. I just don’t see Posada getting enough support from BBWAA members who will focus more on stats, rather than intangibles.

Neither of these players are going to have an easy end to their careers. Both are in the last days of professional baseball and have some important decisions to make. Neither Varitek nor Posada will ever be forgotten for their character and contributions to their franchises.  Regardless of whether either one makes the hall of fame, both have enjoyed careers to be proud of and that few other players could ever imagine possible.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter***

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About samevans87

I love writing, talking, watching, and playing baseball. I am a baseball writer for MLB Reports and Fish Stripes. "No game in the world is as tidy and dramatically neat as baseball, with cause and effect, crime and punishment, motive and result, so cleanly defined." -Paul Gallic

Posted on December 4, 2011, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. A couple of quick facts that I researched.. Jorge has a .273 career BA not .246 which is a lot more impressive especially for a catcher. In 2007 he hit .338 in 574 AB’s. You mention he only hit 30 HRs one year. But, he had 8 years of 20 or more HRs. As a matter of fact, since 2000, Posada has had more home runs and RBIs than any catcher in baseball. Pretty impressive… Yes your correct, his defense wasn’t great but most pitchers agree that his game calling was one of the best. Fact:is most websites rate him one of the top 15-17 catchers of all time. To boot, he is the number Five catcher on the all time Yankee list… 5 All Star teams, 4 World Series championships… Lets not short sell Jorge here. He will definitely get some Hall of Fame consideration when he finally does retire…

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