Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers and other news

The Detroit Tigers announced yesterday that they signed Prince Fielder to a nine year contract for 214 million dollars.  It is amazing how Scott Boras always seems to get it done.  It didn't look like he would get anywhere near what he got.  Detroit wasn't even mentioned, Miguel Cabrera is their first baseman but it looks like he will move to third base now.  They may have the two split between first base and DH now that they have lost Victor Martinez for the year.  It will be interesting to see how this develops and if they can coexist but that is a fearsome combination in the middle of that lineup.  The Tigers now also need to be viewed as AL monsters.  The AL is stacked with the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Angels, Rangers and now Tigers.  So much for anyone thinking they could compete in the AL Central. 

Tim Lincecum avoided arbitration with the San Francisco Giants.  He signed a two year deal for 40.5 million.  The Giants bought out his last two arbitration years so he couldn't become a free agent next year.  That is a huge number for a guy avoiding arbitration. 

Cody Ross signed with the Boston Red Sox.  It isn't a huge signing but a pretty good one for the Red Sox.  He will help replace J.D. Drew in right field. 

Francisco Cordero agreed to a one year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Ken Rosenthal reported he would be the setup man to Sergio Santos. 

The Oakland Athletics have finalized their one year deal with former Yankee Bartolo Colon.  He revived his career with the Yankees last year, he really tailed off at the end of the season.  He signed a minor league deal with the Yankees last year and could earn two million this season. 

Yoenis Cespedes earned residency in the Dominican republic and today officially became a free agent.  It doesn't look like the Yankees are interested but you never know. 

Tony Larussa although he retired will manage the NL all stars in the All Star Game. 

Quotes from the Posada press conference

Here are some quotes from the Posada press conference yesterday.  Thanks to the Lohud Yankees Blog for supplying the quotes. It was very interesting to hear these things said at the press conference also.  Posada surely will be missed but I am sure he won't be a stranger to the Yankees. 

On Posada staying in the Yankees organization in some sort of coaching capacity

Brian Cashman: “We’ll see. Jorge has been a great Yankee. There’s a lot of great Yankees. The one thing about this that George Steinbrenner setup a long time ago was keeping it in the family to the best of your abilities. And so I wouldn’t be surprised, clearly, at some point, that Jorgie will be working with us. I’m not saying anything in the near term, but he’s a Yankee for life, whether it’s a spring training format or something bigger. But right now, it’s not something anybody’s focused on.”

Joe Girardi: “I think Jorge can do what he wants. I do remember that feeling of wanting to spend that first summer at home with your family because it’s been so long. I did the same thing and after a while I got bored and had to go to work. The hardest part for me when I retired was when spring training started and you weren’t going, and then the season starts and you’re watching games on tv, not playing. It just feels kind of strange.”

Jorge Posada: “I don’t have any plans. I want to spend time with my family. I haven’t had a summer with them, so I really want to spend a summer with them, and have some fun with the kids.”

On whether Posada belongs in the Hall of Fame

Joe Girardi: “I think he’s a Hall of Famer. When you look at his numbers and stack his numbers against the catchers who have been there, what he has meant to this club, and the championships – his numbers are incredible. And the longevity; this is not just a six or seven year career. It’s a long time. The fact that he was able to remain consistent for so long is amazing to me.”

Jorge Posada: “All I wanted to do was be in the big leagues, and when you compare me to people in the Hall of Fame, it’s like… we’ll see. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen, but that’s up to you guys. And hopefully we can talk about it five years from now.”

On the way Posada was used last season

Joe Girardi: “When you’re a manager you’re asked to make some tough decisions. As a manager you’re always going to do what you feel is best to win a game. Maybe some of the things, when you look back you could have handled them differently. But the decisions you make are with the information you have that day. I was doing the best that I could. I don’t look back and say I have any regrets. I love Jorge Posada. Jorge Posada came up when I was a kid, and we shared so many great moments together. I’m not going to let one tough situation take away from the relationship that we have.”

Jorge Posada: “I don’t have an issue with (Girardi). I really don’t. It’s one of those things that, I felt like he was put there in front of this situation and he had to put me as a DH. I think it came from upstairs. I don’t have a problem with Joe… Talking to my wife during the season, and talking with Derek (Jeter) during the season, I knew that this was it. I told him and I told Laura that this was my last year, during the year. But that didn’t change my decision. If I would’ve caught, or I would’ve DH’d, that was probably it anyway.

On not having Posada with the team next year

Mariano Rivera: “His fire, you know? His determination, his passion and his drive for the game. He always was pushing and pushing and pushing to get better. We’re definitely going to miss that, but also learn from that, that we had a guy who no matter what was the situation, whatever adversity he’s facing, he continued pushing. And that was Jorge.”

Derek Jeter: ”It’ll be tough. It goes without saying on the field, you know somebody for that long, but I’ve been with him every day for 15 years, 16 years off the field to eat. So if any of you guys want to go eat on the road, let me know. It’s going to be pretty odd.

Jorge Posada: “I think some of the young kids (will step up to fill the leadership role). I think Robinson Cano, I think he’s going to step up. CC’s great. CC’s a great leader on the team. Teixeira is a great leader on the team. You’ve got Alex and you’ve got Derek and you’ve got Mo still, so their team is well covered… It’s going to be hard for me to watch a game, period. I’m going to watch still because I’ve got friends on the team and I want them to do well, obviously.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jorge Posada officially retires

Jorge Posada held an official press conference on Tuesday morning at Yankee Stadium. The press conference was at 11:00AM and was carried live by the  YES Network. Jorge Posada was a Yankee for his whole career and will always be a Yankee. He will be remembered for a lot of great things but his best attribute was his fiery nature and his leadership skills. He was a member of the core four which is sadly down to two members who will soon be following Posada out the door. It was a very emotional day but the Yankees did a great job with it.  There was a packed house.  Joe Girardi, Hall and Jennifer Steinbrenner.  Brian Cashman, Lonn Trost, Randy Levine were all in attendance.  His teammates Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia were there.  Willie Randolph was in the house, Diana Munson, Gene "Stick" Michael and many others.  Diana Munson being there and speaking was a very nice touch.  She stated that Jorge is the one that brought her back to baseball and to love it again.  She said she turned away after her husbands death but then began looking forward to the box score to see how Jorge did.  She said she only ever checked the box scores for Thurman and Jorge.  She stated she was lucky to have loved two Yankee catchers.  It was a sad day but at the same time it was great that he retired a career Yankee and will always be a Yankee. 

Jorge himself said he has nothing planned right now.  He wants to spend time with his family this summer since he has never been able to do that.  He stated he would like to be involved in some way with the game of baseball but isn't sure of how just yet.  I am sure there will be a Jorge Posada day one day and his number will be in monument park. 

Posada who is 40 years old finishes his 17-year Major League career with a .273 batting average with 900 runs, 379 doubles, 275 home runs and 1,065 RBI in 1,829 games-all with the Yankees. Of the 13 former Major League catchers in the Hall of Fame (Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Roger Bresnahan, Roy Campanella, Gary Carter, Mickey Cochrane, Bill Dickey, Buck Ewing, Rick Ferrell, Carlton Fisk, Gabby Hartnett, Ernie Lombardi and Ray Schalk), only Berra has better numbers in batting average, home runs and RBI (.285, 358 and 1,430, respectively).

As a player on five World Series championship teams (1996, ’98, ’99, 2000, ’09), Posada finished his career among Baseball’s all-time postseason leaders in games played (second, 125), doubles (third, 23), hits (fourth, 103) and RBI (tied for ninth, 42). His 119 postseason contests at catcher are the most all time, ahead of Berra (second, 63). In his career, he caught at least one game in six different World Series, tied with Elston Howard and Wally Schang for third-most all time, trailing Berra (12) and Bill Dickey (eight). In 2011, he batted a team-best .429 (6-for-14) in the Yankees’ five-game ALDS vs. Detroit. I do of course realize that in his era they played extra rounds so it is a little misleading but it still is the facts.

Originally selected by the Yankees in the 24th round of the 1990 First-Year Player Draft, Posada holds the distinction of being one of just five players all time to record at least 1,500 hits, 350 doubles, 275 home runs and 1,000 RBI while playing at least 50.0% of his games at catcher, joining Ivan Rodriguez and Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk. He ranks eighth all time in home runs among players whose primary position was catcher. I think these are pretty good numbers and warrants a look at the Hall Of Fame. Only time will tell but I think he has a good case and probably even better one then his former teammates Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte. It will be interesting to see how he is viewed outside of New York though and as time passes. Posada for now though will be known as a great Yankee and the emotional leader of those championship teams. He will always be welcome in New York and as a Yankee and will never be forgotten. It will be a day to look back and not only be emotional but be happy about all that this man has accomplished and all with one team, the New York Yankees

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