While he might get standing ovations from Yankee fans that make Red Sox supporters look intelligent, there’s legitimate concern that Jorge Posada’s career as a productive baseball player is over. In fact, ESPN NY reported today that the Yankees may release him if he doesn’t turn his season around by the All-Star Break:

The New York Yankees will reconsider Jorge Posada’s future with the team if his numbers don’t improve by the All-Star break, according a baseball official with knowledge of the Yankees’ thinking.

By the All-Star break, the Yankees will have three options. They can stick with him, trade him or release him. One team source optimistically said it would be to stick with him. Posada is hitting .179.

“When it comes to Posada, I think he’s going to be better,” said one Yankee insider.

Posada enters Thursday’s game with a line of .179/.287/.366, but there are reasons to be hopeful. First, he is still displaying raw power. His current ISO is a very respectable .188 (.203 career). His K% rate of 26.8% is only 1% higher than his 2010 mark and essentially identical to his 2009 number. He’s also still taking free passes at his normal rate (12.4%). The old man skills are still there. Plus, it was only in 2010 when Posada posted a wOBA of .357 and OPS+ of 116. Could he really drop this far, this fast?

One of the big culprits that jumps off the stat sheet is his BABIP of .184. From 2008-2010, Po had BABIPs of .328, .328, & .287 (last year). Lady Luck may have cut off the urine supply.

Working against the BABIP argument is that Posada’s line drive rate has plummeted to a career-worst 13.4%. That’s a full 5 percentage points below last season’s rate. Is it possible that a 39-year old catcher will stop hitting the ball as hard as he once did? Of course. But, should the difference between 38 and 39 be that large, especially when he’s already popped 6 homeruns? Keep in mind, proclamations of Posada’s death are being made based on 129 plate appearances.

Yes, he’s 39 years old. Yes, he’s an a-hole. However, if you look at the total picture, Posada’s talent level really hasn’t changed from the last couple seasons. With more plate appearances, we’re confident that he can rebound and post some good numbers.