Fact: Jesus Montero, currently toiling in Scranton, is batting .337/.352/.416 this season.
Question: Should the Yankees give up on Posada and give his plate appearances to Montero?
It's About the Money's Chip Buck considers this question in great detail and ...
In conclusion, given Posada's solid chances of seeing his performance improve in the coming weeks, along with Montero's need for a little more development time in AAA, I think it's in both parties' best interest to keep things status quo. If the Yankees are still in the same place on June 15th (the Super 2 deadline), then we'll need to re-examine our situation. Until then, let's be patient with both Posada and Montero, and see how it plays out.
It's relatively easy to be patient when you're in first place. At the moment, the Yankees are tied for first place. If they fall behind Tampa Bay, they'll 1) be in second place and 2) be getting pushed hard in the Wild Card standings, too. If that day comes ... Brian Cashman seems like the patient sort, but I'm sure even he's got his limits. Not to mention the men who sign Cashman's paychecks.
Leaving all that aside, though, Buck's argument for patience is largely predicated on the twin notions that Posada can't be this bad and Montero probably isn't quite this good.
Did you notice the tiny difference between Montero's batting average and his on-base average? In 24 games this season with Scranton, Montero has drawn three walks. There's not much difference between his batting average and his slugging percentage, either; he's hit five doubles and one home run. Which is to say, nearly all of Montero's value as a hitter this season is due to his batting average ... and batting average is highly subject to luck. Which isn't to say Montero's not a high-average hitter; he's got a .315 career batting average in the minors. But he might not really be a .337 hitter in Class AAA, and he might not be a .300 hitter in the American League. And given the paucity of walks and power, if he's not hitting .300 he's not creating many runs. Not yet, anyway.
That said, I do not think the timing is a real issue. Since when do the Yankees care about someone's "Super 2" status? Plus, the rules regarding such things might well be different after this season, since they're a part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that expires soon. What the Yankees probably do care about is Montero's development. Do they want a 21-year-old catcher serving as their primary DH? Alternatively, do they want their primary catcher learning on the job, while Russell Martin or someone else is DHing?
No, probably not.
I don't think the Yankees will necessarily wait until the 15th of June to do something with Posada if he's still below the Mendoza Line. But the 10th of May seems a bit early to jettison the plan that seemed to make pretty good sense on the 10th of April.
For more about the Yankees, please visit Pinstripe Alley.