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David Ortiz on Jorge Posada: “They’re doing that guy wrong”

May 15, 2011, 11:18 AM EDT

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz gave his take on the Jorge Posada mess Saturday night to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald:

“You want me to tell you what I think? They’re doing that guy wrong. They’re doing him wrong. Know why? Because that guy, he’s legendary right there in the organization. And, dude, DHing sucks. DHing, it’s not easy. From what I heard, they told him from the very beginning, he’s not even going to catch bullpens. That, straight up, starts messing with your head. You’re going tell me Posada can’t catch a game out there? Come on. I guarantee you, they throw him out there once in a while, mentally, it’s going to help him out. Because he’s just not thinking about hitting. He’s a DH. When you just think about hitting and you’re not hitting, it sucks. It sucks.”

Ortiz did not defend Posada’s decision to remove himself from the Yankees’ lineup, saying “No, you don’t do that.” But Ortiz, who’s had plenty of struggles of his own in his mid-30s, can understand the frustration.

And maybe Big Papi has a point. Posada clearly isn’t comfortable serving only as a designated hitter, so why not tweak the strategy? Why not help him try to right himself with a game or two behind the plate? Posada’s actions Saturday night were indefensible given the kind of money he makes, but something has to be done.

  1. takemytalentstosoutheuclid - May 15, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    Honestly, I don’t think it matters what kind of money he makes. Even if he was pulling the minimum, you just don’t do that. What’s indefensible is, if the Yankee’s don’t bench him for a few games, like they would someone making the minimum who pulled the same crap.

    • pjmarn6 - May 15, 2011 at 6:36 PM

      Every baseball player knows that eventually, they will retire or be released. That is the game. Posada is a multimillionaire. He can sit home on his millions and enjoy the good life. Wouldn’t you? Take this one year $13.1 million. Taxes take say 40% he nets $7.8 finds a safe tax free 6% and he can spend almost $500,000 this year on the interest from this year alone. That is more than $40,000 a month, what most Americans earn gross a year. And he has what 15 years of savings stashed somewhere. MAN where is your style and manners. The crazy yankees made you a multimillionaire. Play where they tell you and sit down with them and tell them you want to help where you can and offer to be a catching instructor without pay in the minor leagues, do anything to show you are a MAN! Every ball player knows from the day they sign, that it is down hill. They are eventually going to quit or get fired. This is not news to Posada. Gehrig did it, DiMaggio did it, Mantle did it. I would be ashamed to walk to the plate with a .150 average.

  2. yankeesfanlen - May 15, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Big Papi’s review is apt but hardly germaine to the event. Posada could have discussed his concerns any time over the past 6 months and worked it out as a basis for an evaluation of his immediate future.
    There are tough days at work, whether it be for players or managers, and guess what? You have to work them anyway. And maybe for a few days afterwards. Or maybe they don’t come out the way you want all together. That takes character and determination. Posada did not show that last night.
    As someone opined on twitter last night, this Yankees rough spot has already been lived through by the Sox and Rays. Yankees can work through this, best without the melodrama

  3. paperlions - May 15, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    Posada also has to realize the situation. He is a horrible defensive catcher. He is old and catching takes a physical toll (he only caught 80 games last year and missed much of the season). His offense has been declining for a few years and now he’s unplayable. Would letting him catch from time-to-time do more harm (bad defense, wear and tear on his body) than good (possible improvement in mental health)? Probably. It isn’t even clear that the move to DH is the problem, he might feel just fine mentally as a DH only if he was hitting well.
    No matter what, refusing to play (especially 1/2 hr before game time against the Red Sox) is not acceptable, and no one should be expected to cover up for someone refusing to play. If you want the accolades associated with playing in NY, you have to be willing to accept the criticism as well.
    It is easy to be a “team guy” and “classy” when it doesn’t cost you anything and things are going well. You really learn about character during challenging times. For the first time, being a team player is costing Jorge something, and he didn’t respond well.

    • yankeesfanlen - May 15, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      You are absolutely right. I have the same problem with Jeter’s contract negotiations as well. Pettitte may have retired before his actual “drop-dead” deadline, which more and more looks like the right move.
      The “core four” is no more. And who would expect it to last perpetually? It’s a case-by-case basis, Mariano is taking two year contracts and will no doubt do the right thing when the time comes. Posada and Jeter are in much more physical positions and putting themselves up to become ridiculous. Ten years from now they’ll regret not going out on top. It will hurt their legend, hurt their team, and hurt their feelings.

      • dirtyharry1971 - May 15, 2011 at 7:39 PM

        hurt their legend? “5” rings junior, who even comes close to that number? i mean really

    • deathmonkey41 - May 15, 2011 at 4:37 PM

      I agree. Big Papi should just stick to “Dominican Milkshakes” and keep his nose out of Yankees business. There’s a reason the Yankees have laid down the law about Posada catching- he’s awful. He’s always been awful, but the fact that he could hit covered up for that. Now, he’s just a DH that can’t hit. What does he expect the Yankees to do? Continue to let him bat towards the top of the lineup even though he can’t come through anymore? Teams are walking Swisher to get to him- that’s got to tell him something. If he can’t hack the DH role, then bring up Jorge Vazquez.

  4. pisano - May 15, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    I think Papi feels for Posada because the same thing almost happened to him. The difference is he still had a little left. Posada is worn out from so many years behind the plate and lets face he’s almost 40 yrs. old. He has way too many called third strikes and his swing speed isn’t where it should be. It seems like he can’t pull the trigger and the ball is past him. If there is a graceful way out he should take it. The Yankees can’t afford to have him in the line up especially when they have as many guys as they have not producing.

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 15, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    I still don’t get why the Yankees had to wait for a Saturday night Fox game against the Sox to pull this move. Seems like an awfully high-profile way to stick it to Jorge. And if the guy caught 80 games last year, while having a decent offensive season, why not try letting him catch one here or there? He’s no worse defensively than Varitek or Salty, and those guys play plenty. Seems like something the organization could try out of respect for a player who has been a cornerstone of the franchise for a decade and a half.

    The Yankees are showing that they really don’t know how to handle the delicate arts of tact with declining idols. Bodes poorly for Jeter, Arod and later Teix.

    • paperlions - May 15, 2011 at 1:08 PM

      That’s the thing….how do you handle such situations while not decreasing your chances of winning games?
      In these situations, the players — especially “team leaders” like Posada and Jeter — shoulder some of the responsibility for how the situations are handled. All Posada had to do was shut up and play baseball and there would be no “situation.” The Yankees probably (and correctly) feel like they have coddled these guys enough and at some point these players have to be willing to do what is best for the club.
      It will be interesting to see where Posada is batting next time he agrees to be in the lineup.

    • yankeesfanlen - May 15, 2011 at 1:09 PM

      Can’t go along with this. Joe is still the manager and has to show something when this big rivalry comes up and the offense is playing poorly, even if it’s not the right maneuver. Jorge talked to reporters and said he understood the move and was going forward with it at a 3:30PM interview.I think he worked himself into a frenzy after that. Maybe a teammate (Jeter) didn’t notice or have time to respond, and the ensuing outrage just sprung from Jorge’s frustration.
      ARod does not act that way, and I hope Jeter doesn’t either when a position change has to be made.

  6. smarterthangirardi - May 15, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    I am very passionate about the posada topic and yes, Ortiz hit it right on the nose. You need to put a glove back on posadas hand, whether its catching bullpens or giving him a start at first or letting him catch a game or 2, it will help him sooo much at the plate. The guy has been an elite hitter his entire career, cant anybody just have a little faith?

    • yankeesfanlen - May 15, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      Are we completely forgetting player development and accepting poor performance as a tribute to declining skills? The younger guys need a chance to prove themselves in the field, not AAA and we’re supposed to deny that to them to keep up some kind of “appearance” of past greatness?
      I would rather see rookie inexperience than veteran ineptitude.

    • nixonotis - May 15, 2011 at 1:20 PM

      It’s easy to make decisions with your heart when it’s not your money or your job on the line.

      • smarterthangirardi - May 15, 2011 at 1:32 PM

        Nobodys job is on the line over the Posada situation. It’s very similar to the griffey one, if the man wants to finish out his contract then so be it, there wont be any debate

  7. yankeesfanlen - May 15, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Well, here’s something else- Girardi, to a greater or lesser degree, was “forced out” by Posada for the leading catcher job over 10 years ago. Did he carry on as if his coat were in a tree? By all accounts he took it gracefully and moved on, and I can’t believe he isn’t empathetic to Jorge’s “feelings”. He is now the manager, and unseemly as it may look, is trying to do his job.
    Girardi does not have the finesse of Joe Torre, the lineup strategy of Casey Stengel, or the persuasion of Ralph Houk, but I do give him credit in this case for doing something to advance the interests of the team.

  8. eddyjf - May 15, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    The Yankees have consistenly back loaded contracts. The terms are often long, later years salaries high. It is not the fault of the players. This is the price you pay. Live with it.

    • Kevin S. - May 15, 2011 at 10:25 PM

      Posada’s contract was flat. A-Rod’s contract is frontloaded. Jeter’s contract is a little backloaded, but that’s offset by the interest-free deferred money. Burnett’s contract is flat. CC and Teix’s contracts are flat when you add the signing bonus to the first season’s salary.

      The only back-loaded contracts are arbitration buyouts. Everybody backloads those. You might want to know what you’re talking about before you speak.

  9. danberman4 - May 15, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Seems like this was handled badly by everyone. Posada should have played, or come clean with Girardi right away and asked for a day off. Doing this for a national TV game against the BoSox wasn’t great timing either. And Cashman could cover for his player a little. Why do the Yanks, who profess to be so classy, always stab their own players in the back in the press? In any case, Posada is hardly the first player to have trouble coming to grips with their loss of skills.

  10. rgoltsch - May 15, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Jorge played right into the hands of Yankee management. They have had a hitter that was reasonably good behind the plate for years. When his skills deteriorated behind the plate, the team made the right call to bring in a catcher, and move Jorge to the DH slot.

    Now, they have a hitter that is not hitting, and can no longer field his position. The team is stuck because the man is one of the Core Four, even though he was barely a part of that 1996 squad that won the series. They cannot push him out.

    But now, Jorge refuses to play. And not just that, he refuses to play against the Red Sox. What happened to the “warrior” everyone claimed Posada was? A warrior wouldn’t abandon his team.

    Now, the Yankees can sit him for a few days, plop him in the number 9 hole and see if he ever regains his stroke, or just bite the bullet and release him. They won’t be the bad guys since jorge pushed them first.

    Brian Cashman must be loving this. He is getting what he wants and the player is now the bad guy.

    • paperlions - May 15, 2011 at 4:02 PM

      Why in the world would Cashman love this? He would love it if Posada was hitting. Posada played right into management hands by sucking while being paid $13.1MM?
      It amazes me how good people are at creating enemies where there are none. No GM is ever happy that one of his players is struggling. That is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on this board.

    • mogogo1 - May 15, 2011 at 4:22 PM

      The same Brian Cashman who’s one bad stretch away from being canned is “loving” stories of internal strife in the media and the fact his overpriced DH can’t hit? That’d be like saying an autoworker is loving news that the plant is shutting down.

      • aceshigh11 - May 15, 2011 at 4:48 PM

        That last line cracked me up…well-done.

      • dirtyharry1971 - May 15, 2011 at 7:43 PM

        Cashman isnt going anywhere so stop being a knucklehead

  11. rgoltsch - May 15, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    Maybe I can clear up what I meant…..or dig my hole a little deeper.

    Last winter, Cashman had to deal with the resigning of Jeter, a well respected player that is past his prime. His new salary is based on past performance more than what many expect him to do the next few years.

    Posada is playing out the last year of his four year contract. If Posada continues to be a disruption, it would be a lot easier to not re-sign him next season.

    • pjmarn6 - May 15, 2011 at 7:12 PM

      rgoltsch…’re right you dug your hole a hell of a lot deeper! RESIGN HIM FOR NEXT YEAR AS WHAT …….AN USHER? Ball players know the minute they sign a contract it is down hill. I just checked. With the yankees he earned over $117,000,000. And that didn’t help him become a mature man? Tax man taketh $47,000,000 leaves him $70,000,000 and he has to have some investments. So he must be smart enough to find a nice tax free 6% someplace and have a yearly $4,000,000 cushion without touching the principle. I love the GAME! But I don’t have the genes or the skill. And I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE $4,000,000 a year to enjoy if I had been able to retire at 39. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, a mansion and any future he wants or just go out and enjoy life. POOR POOR JORGE! He is such an innocent baby, he never saw this happening to hundreds of thousands of other baseball players in his life!

  12. king3319 - May 15, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Wow!!! There are a couple of firsts for me here. I can’t argue or disagree with anyone here!!! Damn!!! Lol…I can’t believe I’m saying this as a life long Yankee man. Thanx pappi for stickin up for one of our most loved players of the past two decades. And to all the posters well done everyone made valid points both for and against. It’s hard to watch great players come to their end but unfortunately that’s what it is. Time to hang’em up Jorge. Leave with the dignity you came in with, nothin left to prove.

    • pjmarn6 - May 15, 2011 at 7:34 PM

      On another article comment page, I was told these baseball players are entitled to these enormous salaries because they are “ENTERTAINERS” and as such we are obligated to pay $2,500 for seats and pay $10 for .30 hotdogs and $10 for beers to watch them! I would pay $5000 to just be able to get out and play a pick up game with some real major league ball players. It would be the thrill of my life to actually do that. But for grown men who are supposed to be mature and are extremely overpaid to not realize that their time has come to hang them up, it is embarassing. I entirely resent the baseball salary structure. These prima donnas are disgusting. Where have ethics, respect, and self worth gone? The Yankee organization has kissed so many asses, the players are too overblown with their self worth. They are so filled with self love, they forget, it only unto thyself be true. And the yankee players first have to be true to their fans and they are not. If Posada was true to the fans, he would call it quits right now.

  13. uyf1950 - May 16, 2011 at 4:56 AM

    They say players are usually the last to know when it’s time to hang it up. While it may be hard to DH as Ortiz says that’s still the job Posada has been given. He wasn’t given the DH job just because he struggled offensively last season it’s because his defense was terrible. He just was not able to play his position at 40 years old. Period. Whether he was in the league 2 years, 5 years or 15 years based on his stats sitting him or moving him down to the #9 slot in the order was called for, even before now. Girardi, stuck with him longer then most managers would have. Posada, should have taken it like a man and done what was asked of him. Instead he chose to pout like a child and for that there is no excuse. The trouble with to many ballplayers is they think it’s about them and they are 100% wrong. It’s what’s best for the team. Right now Posada is hurting the team. He needs to realize that, accept it and move on. My personal opinion is it’s time to give someone else a chance. While it’s difficult for these players to accept it’s inevitable that they no longer have the skills necessary to play at an acceptable major league level. Posada’s had a very nice career, it’s time for him to bow out gracefully.

  14. bignick1063 - May 16, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    I think Ortiz should mind his own business. You don’t hear Yankees players giving their opinions on what the Red Sox should or shouldn’t be doing.

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