A spring training happening that actually matters

As much time as I’ve spent looking at spring training numbers and getting excited about certain players’ performances (hello Brett Gardner), those performances are not necessarily indicative of regular season success.  However, if you’ve been paying attention, there is one very important number: 4/4.  As in, runners thrown out by Jorge Posada in his last 4 attempts.

If Jorge can simply be a league average defensive catcher, that is a huge deal for the Yankees this season.  The goal is to have Posada catch 110-120 games and it looks like that could be a reasonable projection.  Having Jorge at the catcher position makes the Yankee lineup much more dynamic, especially since the center field position, whether it’s Gardner or Melky, is sure to have the occasional growing pains.

Other thoughts:

–  Really it’s too bad Jesus Montero isn’t just a little older.  He probably won’t be ready for full time MLB action until Posada’s contract is just about over, but I could easily see him slotting in as a 3rd catcher / DH, helping to catch 30-40 games.  That would allow Jorge to DH more and you could justify keeping a defensive-minded Molina type on board as well, since Montero’s bat is good enough to play anywhere.

–  Nice to see the Yankees’ other major prospect, Austin Jackson, hit a grand slam last night.  His performance in AAA this year will be a major story for the Yankees.  If he’s ready for the show next year, that will keep the Yankees from being at the mercy of the free agent outfielders.  Obviously, having Gardner or Melky have a decent year would also help in that area.  If the Yankees only have to sign one free agent, that would be ideal.

–  Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez have been getting a lot of praise this spring – a rarity for relatively unknown Yankee position prospects.  These guys aren’t even in the top 30 on most Yankee prospect lists, so it would be a nice bonus if one of them can actually contribute at the big league level.  Pena’s glove could get him the utility job relatively soon.

–  I still think Jeter can man shortstop for the duration of his contract.  After that, I always thought a move to CF or LF would be in order, but the more I think about it, I don’t know.  He doesn’t hit enough to play LF and hopefully in 2 seasons, A-Jax will be in CF (not to mention, would Jeter be able to play there?).  As a baseball decision, it seems like they’d have to let him walk.  As a PR decision though?  I don’t know…      

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