By: Chris Larson
Last night, the San Francisco Giants selected Georgia Tech catcher, Joey Bart, with their second round draft pick. Yes, I said Joey Bart, not to be confused with the Bay Area Rapid Transit (Bart) system out in the Bay Area. Talk about ironic!
Anyhow, Joey Bart was a heavily promoted draftee heading into last night's draft and many thought at one point that he could end up being drafted by the Detroit Tigers, but they ended up going with Casey Mize instead, who the San Francisco Giants reportedly had a lot of interest in as well. It was reported yesterday that San Francisco Giants General Manager, Bobby Evans, attended Mize's last four outings.
With that being said, the Giants now have their catcher of the future, assuming he ends up signing with them, meaning that the future of Buster Posey potentially becomes a bit cloudier and makes many Giants fans wonder how much longer Posey could be behind the dish or in the Bay Area altogether. Granted, none of us know if Joey Bart will pan out, even the San Francisco Giants front office doesn't entirely know, and none of us know if he will be able to follow the fast-track to the big league club, but if he does, he could be the future face of the franchise in a role similar to what Buster Posey is fulfilling now.
For the past couple of seasons, many people around the game have advocated for Buster Posey to start spending less time behind the dish and move to another position in the infield, such as first base. That is one reason why Posey has seen the amount of time he plays at first base increase. So far this season, Posey has started at first base in 6 games. Last season, Posey appeared there 38 times, with 30 of those being starts. Bruce Bochy seems committed towards increasing the versatility of Posey and based on his age (Posey just turned 31 in March), it seems like a great idea.
Buster Posey originally made his MLB debut at 22-years old in 2009. When you compare the amount of work that he has done over that time, Posey has caught 7,140.1 innings during the regular season, which is the 9th most among catchers over that time. It doesn't come close to the 10,423 innings that, Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals has caught during the regular season, but you also have to account for all of the postseason innings that Posey has caught. After all, the Giants won three World Series Championships within the span of 6 years.
Based on those figures alone, you can see why the San Francisco Giants played it smart by drafting a potential future face of the franchise and potentially their future full-time catcher yesterday evening. There are players in the game today, age 30 and older, whose preservation and health should be of high priority by that player's team, but one of the players at the top of the list should be Buster Posey simply because of how much workload he has carried over the years and the value that he brings to the Giants everyday he takes the field.
Furthermore, depending on how the Giants finish out this season and if they're able to make the postseason or not, could dictate what ultimately ends up happening with Buster Posey and several of the other players that he has grown up with over time. After finishing with the second worst record in all of baseball last season, the Giants decided to reload this past offseason, as opposed to rebuild, and thus far it has worked out. Heading into play today, the Giants have a 30-30 record and a 1 and 1/2 games back of first place in the NL West. However, if for some reason they experience a huge down spiral between now and the trade deadline or now and the end of the season, Posey could become expendable.
Posey is signed through 2021 and is guaranteed an additional $66.5 million dollars. In addition, he's got a team option for the 2022 season worth $22 million dollars or a $3 million dollar buyout that can be exercised come that time. If the Giants feel as though they won't be relevant anytime soon, especially if they miss the postseason this year, then it might be best to start looking at trade possibilities involving Posey. Of course, it would be extremely difficult given how much he has meant over his career to the San Francisco Giants fan base, but it would be no different than the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen last winter and would bring back a significant haul in return.
Furthermore, depending on how Joey Bart pans out and how fast he moves up through the minor league system, could also dictate the future of Buster Posey. If Bart comes out of the gate and hits the fast track to the big league club, Posey could see his days numbered in the Bay Area. However, if Joey Bart doesn't perform like he is expected to, again assuming he signs with the team, then the Giants always have Posey.
As stated earlier, none of us know exactly what the future holds, if Joey Bart will even pan out as expected, or how much longer Buster Posey can continue to log a significant amount of innings behind the dish. However, what we do know is, that Buster Posey has provided an extraordinary amount of value to the San Francisco Giants over the years, that Joey Bart has a ton of potential, and that the San Francisco Giants made a very good selection during yesterday's draft. Only time will tell if it was the right decision and if it was a decision that ultimately finds Posey's days in the Bay Area numbered or not.