The San Francisco Giants took the first of two games in Kansas City, Tuesday night, 2-1, with Buster Posey back as designated hitter. Batting in the cleanup slot, he went three-for-five, while preparing to ease his way back behind the plate. This will probably occur Friday night, when the Giants open a three-game series in Colorado. The Rockies sport a 10-5, win/loss record, good enough for first-place.
San Francisco placed Posey on the seven-day DL for precautionary measures, after he was beaned Opening Day, in San Francisco, by D-backs pitcher Taijuan Walker. Fearing that a second blow to the head, such as a foul tip, would create havoc for the team’s established leader, the Giants took the most logical course of action.
Once again I raise the controversial question, of whether Posey should come out from behind the plate. Though there are many fans who protest, I am not among them. In my opinion Buster should, indeed, take up residence at first base.
Yes, I am well aware that Brandon Belt is the best at this position since JT Snow; yes, I am aware that Buster Posey is rated the best at his position, and that the next in line, isn’t even close; and finally, yes, I know that one reason the Giants won three titles in five seasons, is because of Buster’s mad skills behind the dish.
Nonetheless, Posey is at risk of taking one too many foul tips to the noggin. This could occur in any given game he ever assumes the squat, becoming nothing more than a sad footnote to the end of a brilliant career. I would hate to see the goose that lays the golden eggs, being sent to his baseball demise, because of greed.
I don’t think it’s reasonable to want to have it all. You can get Buster catching and Belt at first, but for how long, and at what eventual cost? Or you can get Buster at first and Belt in left, indefinitely.
No catcher should remain behind the plate past the point where he is at risk of endangering himself, longterm. Note, please, Minnesota’s Joe Mauer shifting from catcher to first base, following the 2013 season, when he was thirty years old, one of the games finest catchers.
Buster just turned thirty years old.
I remember that Mike Matheny, who came to the Giants in 2005, posted a .999 fielding percentage and walked away with the Willie Mac Award that year. His career ended abruptly the following season, when he was placed on the disabled list, May 31st, after sustaining a series of dings from foul tips. The Giants announced in July of that year, that Matheny was retiring.
Clearly, Buster does his best work behind the plate, defensively, but such is not the case, offensively: Posey’s number are significantly better when he is at first base, than when he is in the squat. Also, Buster’s knowledge of the opposing hitters, and his ability to handle the pitching staff, are superior, but the fact remains unchanged that this is his eighth year behind the plate.
There is no convenient manual which provides the shelf-life for catchers, so that we can consult it and act accordingly. Buster may be one of those iron men who can catch forever. He just might be. How lucky are the Giants feeling these days? Lucky enough to gamble the franchise player?
How does Buster himself respond? He hates the idea. He’s gone on record as saying repeatedly that he is a catcher, and he would resist any attempts to move him to first base.
However, when the umpire hollers, “Play ball!” I guarantee you that Buster would never turn his back on his teammates. Leaders do what they have to, in order to get the job done, even when the going is rough. If Bruce Bochy told Buster to jump, all Buster would ask would be, “How high?”
Is Nick Hundley qualified to lead the Giants to another title? If Buster were injured, whether it was his head or not, Hundley would be the man. No way would Bobby Evans have acquired a catcher that he did not think could lead his team to victory, at any level of competition.
So there you have it. Do you keep your star player at-risk to satisfy the need to field the best team possible, or do you buy insurance? It comes with no guarantee, but has a huge selling point: Buster’s longevity.
This is no question that Jake, at State Farm, can answer. Some insurance matters should be self-evident. One Buster Posey at first base, for the next eight seasons, is better than one Buster Posey being cut down before his time. Why should his career be determined by the capricious nature of foul tips?
This you will find in the manual on page 12, paragraph 4, subsection S, under “Sense, common.”