The 40-Year-Old Posada: Will He Be A Tampa Bay Ray?

Jorge Posada of the New York Yankees reacts after he struck out looking to end the bottom of the second inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

According to this Spanish-language report from ESPN Deportes, the Tampa Bay Rays are interested in signing former Yankees catcher/DH Jorge Posada. Here's Google Translate's helpful translation:

Sources said this week that the Tampa Bay Rays are in "interest in exploring" the possibility of signing veteran Puerto Rican Jorge Posada for the 2012 season to serve as a kind of "utility" in the first base, designated hitter and backup catcher behind the recently signed Jose Molina .

The article goes on to say that Posada has also "drawn interest" from the Orioles and Phillies, but has not yet decided whether to play or not in 2012.

This idea makes some sense from the Rays' point of view, although it would give them two catchers over age 36; on the other hand, this is something that has been completely opposite from the way Andrew Friedman (and his predecessors) have operated in Tampa. Posada turned 40 last August.

The Rays are entering their 15th season. In the previous 14, they have had only five players age 40 or older:

Wade Boggs, who was a Tampa-area native and was signed for a specific reason -- because he was headed to the Hall of Fame and the then-Devil Rays wanted him to get his 3000th hit in a Tampa Bay uniform (and subsequently got the Hall to change its "cap" rules when they tried to pay Boggs to say he wanted to have a Tampa Bay cap on his plaque).

Fred McGriff, another Tampa native who had been good for the Rays before leaving for the Cubs and Dodgers and who was repatriated for 72 pretty bad (.181/.272/.306 with two HR) at-bats in 2004. The "Crime Dog" was trying to burnish his credentials for the Hall of Fame, too. (Didn't work out, and probably won't.)

Julio Franco, who had one at-bat for Tampa Bay in 1999 and who they probably should have kept; he played seven more years after that as a useful bench player for the Braves and Mets.

And two 40-year-old relievers, Brian Shouse and Russ Springer, who both pitched for the team in 2009, the only season in the last four that the Rays have not won 90+ games and made the playoffs.

So the Rays' record with 40-year-old players isn't great -- they either do it for box office reasons, have him in his one useless season, or get guys who don't contribute to a playoff team. Truth be told, Posada is probably done; he had the worst year of his career in 2011, hitting .235/.315/.398 and making news only because he played second base for an inning in this bizarre game on Aug. 25.

Announce your retirement, Jorge. Go out as a Yankee and have your legacy like that of the two men you came in with, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera; don't be one of those 40-plus guys who takes a spin with another team "just because".

And with the Rays, being over 40 doesn't appear to work out that well, anyway.

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