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The Yankees Catching Situation

By Mike Silva ~ September 27th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

Joel Sherman made an excellent point in his Hardball Blog earlier today:

Among potential AL playoff foes, the Rays already know how to exploit the speed issue, having stolen 22 bases in 23 tries against the Yankees this season. Tampa leads the majors in steals at 167. Texas is seventh at 117. You think of Minnesota as a running team, but the Twins have just 66 steals – 25th in the majors.

However, the Red Sox are 26th in the majors in steals with 59, and yet stole four bases in the ninth inning alone against the combo of Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. Posada actually looks as if he has a bit of the yips right now. His throw-out percentage for the season is just 16.3. And here is the scary thing for the Yankees: Among AL catchers who have started as often as Posada just one has a worse throw-out percentage: That would be Francisco Cervelli at 14.5. And Cervelli is the Yankees’ “defensive” specialist.

This is an excellent point by Sherman. Cervelli has been disappointing in throwing out base runners after nailing 43% just a year ago. Certainly the Yankees could use Jose Molina (43% CS rate as Sherman points out), and ironically he is not all that different offensively than Cervelli (OPS+ of 84 to Cervelli’s 80).

The Yankees are in a similar situation to what the Mets were with Mike Piazza towards the end of his career. You have a player with offensive upside, yet lacking consistency, and a defensive liability. Towards the end of Piazza’s Mets tenure speedy teams, like the Marlins, would run wild on them.  Singles and walks were automatic doubles, which puts pressure on a pitching staff.

I still think Cervelli has defensive upside and I would start him behind the plate, while putting Posada at DH. Lance Berkman hasn’t shown enough offensively to warrant a guaranteed start, and I value defense behind the plate, especially in the playoffs.

Joe Girardi has a number of decisions with the pitching staff to figure out before the end of the week. Perhaps how he plays it behind the plate will be equally important to the fate of the Yankees in the playoffs. That is why I go Cervelli behind the plate, and Posada at the DH spot.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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1 Response to The Yankees Catching Situation

  1. Steve S.

    Sorry Mike, but I thought Joel’s piece was awful. Here’s my take.


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