NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — After five World Series rings, seven American League pennants and five All-Star appearances, Jorge Posada says his career with the New York Yankees is over.
“I don’t think there’s not even a percentage of chance that I can come back,” the 40-year-old catcher said Wednesday night before his foundation’s annual dinner. “It’s not going to happen.”
After 17 seasons in pinstripes, Posada faces the same choice Bernie Williams had after the 2006 season: Retire and ensure that his entire big league career was with the Yankees or move on to another team. Posada said his agents had heard from about a half-dozen clubs expressing interest and he probably will wait until January or early February to make up his mind.
“Do I want to do it for somebody else? Do I want to leave home? Do I want to do it all over again without knowing anybody?” he said, with his wife Laura at his side.
Following the retirements of Williams and Andy Pettitte last winter, Posada’s exit will leave only 37-year-old Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, who turns 42 on Nov. 29, from the core group that propelled the Yankees to their recent run of titles.
Posada lost his catching job after 2010 and was shifted to designated hitter with one season left on a $52.4 million, four-year contract. The switch-hitter struggled against left-handers and was batting .165 on May 14 when he was dropped to No. 9 in the batting order against Boston. He asked to be taken out of the lineup, saying he wasn’t ready to play.
“At the end of the day, it’s a business. You look back and you wish there were some things that could have gone differently, but they didn’t,” Posada said. “I’m not bitter at the Yankees. I’m not bitter at Joe Girardi. I’m not bitter at Brian Cashman. It just happened. I wish at that moment I would have changed a couple things. But it happened, and you know what? You learn from it.”
Posada recovered to hit .268 for the rest of the season, leaving him with a .235 average, 14 homers and 44 RBIs. His two-run pinch-hit single on Sept. 21 beat Tampa Bay to clinch the AL East, earning him one last huge ovation, and he hit .429 (6 for 14) in the five-game loss to Detroit in the division series.
After the last game, Posada got choked up.
“It was very hard that day, very emotional that night,” he recalled. “It was tough for me to know that I was not coming back.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been noncommittal about Posada’s future.
“Obviously decisions have to be made,” he said earlier Wednesday. `I’m not prepared to talk about that at this point in time.”
Posada doesn’t think New York would want him as an instructor for young catchers Jesus Montero and Austin Romine.
“I don’t think I’m going to be around with the Yankees,” he said before adding: “I love teaching. I think I can help out. If I’m not playing, I will be doing something with baseball.”
When his contract expired after the 2006 season, the then 36-year-old Williams was offered a minor league deal with an invitation to prove himself during spring training. Despite requests from manager Joe Torre, Williams turned down the offer.
Does Posada feel his phaseout was similar?
“If you had asked me that question in February of this year, I would have said no. But now I would say yes,” Posada responded. “It went the same way, pretty much.”
Posada speaks often with Williams, who has advised him to make sure the decision to retire or move on is right for him.
“I think after he stays home a few more months and he realizes how hard it is to stay home with the kids, I think he’s going to pay a team to have him play,” Laura said, jokingly. “Honestly, what I said to him was you need to really be sure about your decision, because you don’t want to have any regrets. You don’t want to feel in your mind that you didn’t accomplish something that you set out to accomplish when you started playing baseball. He has been playing baseball all his life, so it’s really hard to wake up and not have anything to do.”
Posada will consider only contending teams for a job that is likely to be a part-time catcher or DH and pinch-hitter. But he’s reluctant to alter a career biography that lists only one team.
“I will always be a Yankee,” he said. “The New York Yankees for me is my second family. It will be tough to put on another uniform for real and learn another set of rules and all that stuff.”
His wife suggested he might want to stick around to reach 300 homers. He has 275.
“I would love to get 300. It’s not going to happen,” he said.
If he does play, she had a suggestion — the Marlins. The Posadas make their offseason home in the area.
“I love Miami,” she said.
NOTES: The foundation raises money for research into craniosynostosis, a disease that causes bones in the skull to fuse prematurely. Jorge Luis Posada, who turns 12 this month, has had nine operations. The Posada’s repeatedly thanked the Yankees for their contributions to the foundation.
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