Like a desperate husband who pawns his wedding ring for $50, the New York Yankees drastically overpaid for Jorge Posada last night, as they hurried to re-sign the 36-year-old catcher before their exclusive right to negotiate with him disappeared at midnight. The team made Posada the highest-paid catcher in baseball, giving him a four-year, $52.4 million deal.
The contract probably put a huge smile on the faces of the Red Sox, who must think the Pinstripers have lost their collective mind. Sure, Hank Steinbrenner has sounded like an idiot in the media over the past month, but no one actually thought he was as stupid as he sounded. Well, think again.
While most catchers expire in their early- to mid-30s, the Yankees have guaranteed Posada huge money past his 40th birthday. Although the Puerto Rican backstop had his best statistical year in 2007 with a .338 batting average, 20 home runs and 91 RBIs, there’s a good chance he won’t even be able to walk by the time he’s 40.
The Yankees added a fourth year to the contract yesterday to ensure Posada would sign before midnight. Beginning today, other teams are allowed to negotiate with free agents, and the Mets had their sights set on Posada. Instead, they won’t even get to speak with the five-time All-Star, who will be too busy counting his money the rest of the winter to do anything but laugh at his good fortune.