Jorge Posada has been a tremendous player for the last 15 years. The suspicion is that the Yankees will soon have to find a replacement for their veteran catcher, He is safely ensconced for 2010 but 2011 or 2012 might be another matter and so the young pretenders are making their moves.
Add to that the fact that Jose Molina, who has been the backup catcher for the last 2 and ½ seasons has gone (to Toronto) and there are opportunities a-plenty for the youngsters to prove themselves.
The received wisdom on current back-up, Francisco Cervelli is that his batting is weak. Add his .333 performance in Spring Training this year to his .298 for last season (42 games, 94 at bats) and that is a harsh criticism. He doesn’t draw enough walks and is not going to be a power hitter like Posada but he is holding his own.
Further down the chain, 20 year old, Venezuelan, Jesus Montero gets the opposite rap. Nobody questions his batting ability but he may or may not have the tools to be a catcher at the major level. P.J. Pilittere was mentioned in our first base survey but he is a contender here too. Veteran Mike Rivera (2 years as backup at Detroit, 1 at San Diego, 4 at Milwaukee) was invited to Spring Training as insurance. Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka are for the future and were invited along for the experience.
Rivera will find a job at Scranton and wait to see if injuries develop and the Yankees feel that Montero is too big a risk.
After a injury hit 2008, Posada bounced back well in 2009 but expect Cervelli to get 50-55 games even in an injury free season. Posada had the third best season of his career as a slugger in .2009 with 22 home runs and a .522 slugging average. He will serve the Yankees well if he can stay healthy.
1. Jorge Posada
2. Francisco Cervelli
3. Mike Rivera
4. Jesus Montero
Will Carry: Two