They say that when one door/window/entryway closes, another one opens. The baseball world saw something akin to this on Tuesday morning. As one player tearfully announced his retirement, another took over the headlines with the announcement of a big bucks long-term contract.
On Tuesday morning, at a press conference filled with emotion, Jorge Posada officially announced his retirement. Surrounded by his family, with an audience that included some of his closest teammates, he ended his 17 year career as a major league catcher. And what a career it was. Playing only for the New York Yankees, winning 5 World Series, and earning the respect and blessing of Diana Munson - all feats that should not be taken lightly. Not that it was all easy. As his career drew to a close, many people speculated that it was time for him to hang it up, with these speculations coming before he ever contemplated retirement himself. Tensions grew as his role as a catcher diminished and he was shuffled around the line-up, with manager Joe Girardi trying to find an appropriate place and use for the aging hitter. Is he a first ballot hall of famer? No. He is not a definite inductee, by any means. Yes, he has post season experience and success. He also has numbers comparable to those of the catchers already in Cooperstown, not to mention the fact that he’s up there in terms of other Yankees catchers. Writers can be tricky though - my favorite, Buster Olney, is claiming uncertainty - and it will be interesting to see what the perspective on Posada is 5 years from now.
Now for that monster contract I alluded to - Prince Fielder and the Detroit Tigers. Over the course of the next 9 years, the Tigers owe Mr. Fielder $214 million. (Just pocket change to Pujols.) So what does this mean? Well, for one thing, there are now 2 new scary power hitters in the American League instead of just 1. And while the offense is there in spades for the Tigers, they also have some defensive issues to address. Their first baseman, Miguel Cabrera, now moves to third. He wasn’t much to write home about in terms of defense in the first place, but the risk goes up now that he’s moved to third. This move also displaces Brandon Inge, who just recently declared his desire to start. All of this aside, 9 years is a long time. What happens when Prince starts aging and needs a half day off as a designated hitter? And what happens when that comes at the same time that Cabrera and Victor Martinez are starting to feel aches and pains as well?
Should be interesting, readers. Stay tuned! Baseball season isn’t as far away as you think…