Posada's final season with the Yankees was tumultuous. Told before Spring Training that the club no longer considered him a viable option behind the plate, Posada was asked to assume the role of a full-time designated hitter for the first time in his career.
He struggled to adjust, and Posada's frustration boiled over before a May 14 game against the Red Sox, in which he asked out of the lineup when manager Joe Girardi listed his name ninth in the batting order. Posada was also removed from everyday DH duties in August, with the Yankees hoping to get more production from other players.
Though he completed the year hitting .235 with 14 home runs and 44 RBIs in 115 games, making 82 starts at DH and 11 at first base, Posada was able to complete his season with several high notes.
Posada hit a game-winning two-run single on Sept. 21 against the Rays, helping the Yankees clinch the American League East title, and was 6-for-14 (.429) in the club's AL Division Series loss to the Tigers. He even got into one last game behind the plate, serving as an emergency catcher on Sept. 10 at Anaheim.
It was apparent that the Yankees did not intend to continue their relationship with Posada, who completed a four-year, $52.4 million contract at the end of the season. Posada said in November that he could not see any way that he'd play for the Yankees in 2012.
Russell Martin figures to continue as New York's starting catcher, and the club is grooming top prospect Jesus Montero as a potential replacement at DH and part-time catcher. After Game 5 of the AL Division Series, an emotional Posada cut short an interview with reporters, unable to continue without crying.
As recently as two months ago, Posada said that he was entertaining the idea of continuing to play in a different uniform. Posada started his offseason workouts on Nov. 1, as he usually does, and told reporters that a half-dozen clubs had called his agents to check on his situation.
Notably, Posada was said to have solicited some level of interest from the Marlins -- an option that could have held some appeal, considering Posada makes his home nearby.
Instead, Posada will write the final chapter of his career in flowing, navy blue Yankees script. A converted infielder who switched to catching in the Minor Leagues, Posada will retire with a career .273 average. He ranks seventh on the franchise's all-time list with 379 doubles and 936 walks, eighth with 275 home runs and 11th with 1,065 RBIs.
Posada's 246 home runs as a catcher are second only to Berra (306) on the club's all-time list. Of the 13 former Major League catchers already enshrined in Cooperstown, only Berra has better career numbers in all three categories of batting average, home runs and RBIs.
"I will always be a Yankee," Posada said in November. "The New York Yankees, for me, is my second family."
The decision confirms that the Yankees' "Core Four" is now down to a dynamic duo. Only Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera remain from the group that collected five World Series rings, with Andy Pettitte having announced his retirement before the 2011 season.