Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Pat Borzi has a nice piece about the relationship between Jorge Posada and Tony Pena today in The Times.
It's funny...Fisk-Munson was such a hotly-debated Sox-Yankee position rivalry, but you rarely hear about Varitek vs. Posada. Maybe it's because the new guys don't have a personal dislike for each other the way that Fisk and Munson did.
I know Varitek is widely praised for the way he calls a game and he is a good offensive player too. But I'm biased to Posada on this one. Could make a good argument for either, no?
i recall a discussion here during a game late last season about tony pena's effect on posada's defense. cliff and others here were all over this.
a nice article.
posada seems to have aged a bit better (because he started as an infielder?), but their demeanor and approach to their jobs seems pretty similar.
i'd love to have either on my team.
With an OPS+ of 122, Posada's offensive production is already on par with the Hall's catching fraternity. If (and it's a big if), Posada can maintain a similar level of production for 3-4 years, I think you could start making the case for him. Everything from history tells us the chances of a mid-30's catcher maintaining his production are slim. Having said that, perhaps Posada relatively light workload might help him reverse the overwhelming precedent?
4 With all due respect to Varitek, he hasn't been anywhere near as good an offensive player as Posada. Unless you want to argue that Varitek is that much better at calling games and blocking balls (Posada has the better arm), then I think Posada gets the clear nod over Varitek.
varitek calls a hell of a game and is every bit as much of a leader in the clubhouse by all accounts. his offense has dipped (and last year dropped off considerably) but his defense has always been solid.
the offense goes to posada. i am illiterate when it comes to any defensive statistic of any value, but varitek is a great catcher. if you watch him a couple of times a week, you'd see the man knows what he's doing.
that said, maybe i need to watch jorge a bit more closely. i could think of a million worse ways to spend a summer.
Varitek's major plus as a fielder is the way he calls games. But how difficult is that skill to measure against catchers from previous eras?
Given what is traditionally seen as an emphasis on honor in Japanese culture, would sending Igawa, an veritable ace in the NPB, to the minors be considered a dishonor to the entity of the Japanese baseball? Would it affect the Yankees' ability to sign future free-agents? I mean, we are essentially saying that the man who led the league in strikeouts three of the last five years and led in ERA in one of the other two is not good enough to make a 25-man roster.
14 Munson also always seemed to take it personally if a pitcher shook him off. He'd take a couple of steps toward the mound, growl something, and snap the throw back to the pitcher.
Here's Bob Lemon talking about Jim Hegan: "When I first started pitching, I used to shake him off sometimes. Invariably, they'd get a hit. So, I stopped shaking him off."
From a review of a book titled The American Indian Integration of Baseball, talking about John "Chief" Meyers: "...the "slow footed catcher" tolerated the domination of his manager, who batted him eighth and seldom trusted him to call pitches..." (The manager was John McGraw.)
Finally, here's a baseball historian talking about Moses Fleetwood Walker in 1884: "Some of the pitchers wouldn't let Fleet Walker call pitches for them," Overmyer said. "They would throw whatever they wanted, even purposely trying to cross up Walker. What's interesting is that those players later admitted that Walker caught all the pitches anyway."
Q: What were you thinking then? Two outs in the ninth inning. One batter away from a perfect game in the World Series, and you're the catcher.
Yogi Berra: I was pulling for him. He had good stuff that day.
Q: Did you have to think twice about what pitches to call?
Yogi Berra: No. He got everything over. He went to three balls on one hitter in the first inning. That's all. He only threw 96 pitches. And anything I put down, he got over. Never shook me off once.
I hope we will have more Lieter this season.
Looks like the deal allows cable and Dish Network to carry the Extra Innings package if they are willing to meet certain requirements. The hangup seems to be MLB's baseball channel (which will not launch until 2009). MLB wants the channel to be offered on lower tier packages instead of premium packages (I can't believe MLB is holding firm on this).
The good news is that at least they are trying to work it out, although they are running out of time (they have a deadline of opening day to get the deal done).
Also, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on March 27 to investigate the deal. Maybe there is still hope that something can get done, but it seems unlikely.
Last year, using 'double size' resulted in an unacceptable quality. Full screen was out of the question. In the new version, double size in just about TV quality, and full screen, while not quite TV quality, is watchable.
Unfortunately, instead of just 'installing' the new version, they instead offer it as an upgrade, for $5/month extra. While I resent this ($20/month to watch 'almost TV quality' on a computer screen is quite expensive), if you watch a number of games a month, it's definitely worth it.
At least technology is improving quickly. I'd say in another year, the computer full screen will be TV quality. I might have to move an old computer into the living room.
Obviously, Posada is playing in a more hitter friendly era, but his numbers are way better then Thurmans. Who woulda thunk. Teks numbers are within range of Posada's, so I don't quite get an OPS+ of only 105.
Posada's numbers look pretty damn good to me.
I think Teks best strength is blocking the plate. He is always RIGHT THERE. Makes it look easy. Over the next few years, I expect Posada to widen the gap.
Is 7000 ABs average for the average player, or the average Catcher?
On the other hand, you don't hear many pitchers (other than Wakefield) complaining about Varitek, but you do have the weird Randy Johnson/Posada thing and the El Duque/Posada thing.
At my work, people are always debating the Tek/Posada preference. Boston fans seem to HATE Posada as much as I hate Tek (take off your mask and gloves when you attack A Rod you wimp!)
Jorge forever. Do love the guy.
Good article. Like to hear more about the coaches. Gator has the toughest job. Bowa must be a real trip. Too bad someone cannot teach Damon how to throw. Would have to start with reconstructive surgery. Wonder what and who Joe coaches. Oh Donny, can you help me with my swing? Quite an impressive bunch.
It seems as if most Hall of Fame catchers (at least the very best ones) have between 6,500 and 8,500 PAs (see below), so that's why I think Jorge needs to play another 3-4 years. Most other position players in the Hall usually have quite a bit more.
Bench 8,669 PA (approx. 1,700 as a non-catcher) / OPS+ 126
Berra 8,364 PA (approx. 1,000 as a non-catcher) / OPS+ 125
Dickey 7,060 PA / OPS+ 127
Cochrane 6,206 PA / OPS+ 128
Hartnett 7,297 PA / OPS+ 126
Lombardi 6,349 PA / OPS+ 125
Finally, while Varitek is very good at blocking the plate, there are so few plays at the plate during a season to factor in such a skill. To me, the two most important skills of a catcher are controlling the running game (which Posada seems to do better) and calling a game (which Varitek seems to do better). Because Varitek is not the defensive equivalent of a Johnny Bench, I don't think whatever defensive advantage he has comes close to making up for Posada's much better offense.
Posada is as under-appreciated in NY as captain cheapshot is over-appreciated in Boston.
Hip hip, Jorge! Hip hip, Jorge!
22 Yeah, Larsen credited Yogi for calling every pitch of that perfecto.
I had never noticed that Jorge uses a batting glove while catching, while we all know he bats without gloves.
what I loved about the posada story was his working on the finer points of his game and ability to improve. alot of the age related info on catchers goes out the window in the 2000s with improved conditioning and committment to play (think $$$$$$$$$$).
I expect Jorge to be playing until he's 38, so another 3 or 4 years not out of the question and the HOF a definite while captain cheapshot will sink to a well-deserved shameful oblivion. Just another impartial fan's opinion...
Tek, while calling a good game, has declined noticibly and is no longer an offensive force but yet another resting spot for opposing pitchers in the sawks subpar lineup. Was it last year or the year before he was ohfer 19 against the Yanks at one point in the season? Tough to make excuses unless you're saying the guy plain just sucks. Oh very tek, I must stop this post/rant...
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