Tag Archives: Buster Posey

Phillies visit San Francisco for a season-defining long weekend

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The Philadelphia Phillies (59-55) will continue their roller-coaster ride of a 2019 regular season out west with a long weekend visit to face the host San Francisco Giants (56-59) at Oracle Park.

The Giants, who stormed back into the National League Wildcard playoff picture with a scorching hot July, have stumbled backwards in August. Since flipping the page over on the calendar, San Francisco has gone just 1-6.
Wins in just four of their last 13 contests, including dropped two of three to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, have dropped the Giants 3.5 out in that Wildcard race with four teams now standing between them and a spot in the postseason.
For the Phillies, losses in three of their last four games leave them tied for one of the two NL Wildcard berths. However, there are now five teams within 1.5 games of one another in what looks like it is shaping up to be a wild sprint (stumble?) down the stretch.
The biggest problem for both of these teams of late has been an inability to score runs. The Giants enter the series having put just 17 runs up on the scoreboard across their seven August games. That is an average of just 2.43 runs per game. Meanwhile, the Phillies have crossed the plate just 23 times over their own last half-dozen, or an average of 3.83 runs per contest.
The Giants have averaged just 4.24 runs per game over the entire 2019 season, the second-lowest per-game output in the National League. They also have registered the league’s second-lowest OPS, and have the second-lowest home run total in the NL, ahead of only the rebuilding Miami Marlins in each of those categories.
Things aren’t much better statistically on the mound for San Francisco. The pitching staff ranks just 10th of the 15 NL ball clubs in batting average against (.254) and OPS against (.754) as well as strikeouts. The Giants came in at 18th of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball in our latest MLB Power Rankings released one week ago, with the Phillies ranking in the No. 14 position.
With so many teams between them and a postseason berth, this is now a pivotal series for the host Giants. If the Phillies manage to somehow take three of four here, that would probably sound the death knell for the 2019 season by the bay.
For their part, the Phillies need to come out of this with at least a split. That would allow the club to return home next week having gone no worse than 3-4 in a two-city western swing.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Kevin Pillar (30/CF): .252/.281/.420, 13 HR, 42 XBH, 56 RBIs, 55 runs, 9 steals
Brandon Belt (31/1B): .233/.347/.390, 12 HR, 33 XBH, 39 RBIx, 57 runs
Evan Longoria (33/3B): .239/.314/.439, 13 HR, 30 XBH, 39 RBIx, 38 runs
Pablo Sandoval (32/3B): .267/.312/.507, 14 HR, 37 XBH, 41 RBIs, 42 runs
Mike Yastrzemski (28/LF): .264/.316/.477, 10 HR, 24 XBH, 34 RBIs, 37 runs
Scooter Gennett (29/2B): .218/.233/.310, 1 HR, 6 XBH, 7 RBIs, 5 runs (90 plate appearances with CIN/SFG)
Gennett arrived in a trade deadline deal from the Cincinnati Reds, leading to the release of longtime Giants second baseman Joe Panik.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Buster Posey: A Georgia native now in his 11th big-league season, Posey was the first round pick of the Giants at 5th overall in the 2008 MLB Draft out of Florida State University.
After receiving a cup of coffee in September 2009, Posey became the Giants starting catcher in the 2010 season. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award and finished 11th in NL MVP voting, then led the Giants past the Phillies in five games in the NLCS enroute to the first World Series championship for the franchise in 56 years.
Two years later, Posey made his first of six NL All-Star teams, won his first of four NL Silver Sluggers, and won that NL MVP Award. He also once again helped the Giants to a World Series crown.
Posey and the Giants would add a third World Series championship to their franchise trophy case in the 2014 season. In 2016, Posey won his long career NL Gold Glove Award at catcher.
The wear and tear of catching more than 900 games at the big-league level have taken their toll on Posey, who is now 32-year-old. Still, he has been behind the plate in 74 of the team’s 115 games this season.
He received a nine-year contract at $167+ million which runs through the 2021 season with a 2022 team option. It will be interesting to see whether the Giants can remain a playoff contender over the next year or two, and if not, whether he could end up moving on to another team. For all the world, Posey feels like a one-team player to me, and he will make an interesting Hall of Fame case one day late in the 2020’s.

GIANTS SHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

Thursday – Madison Bumgarner (29/LH): 6-7, 3.92 ERA, 3.82 FIP, 1.175 WHIP, 140 hits over 144.2 IP across 24 starts with a 142/30 K:BB
Friday – Tyler Beede (26/RH): 3-6, 5.38 ERA, 5.50 FIP, 1.602 WHIP, 84 hits over 73.2 IP across 15 games (13 starts) with a 69/34 K:BB
Saturday – Jeff Samardzija (34/RH): 8-9, 3.70 ERA, 4.43 FIP, 1.164 WHIP, 111 hits over 126.1 IP across 23 starts with a 110/36 K:BB
Sunday – Conner Menez (24/LH): 0-1, 5.73 ERA, 7.49 FIP, 1.273 WHIP, 9 hits over 11 IP across 2 starts with a 10/5 K:BB

THE SKIPPER

Bruce Bochy – (reprinted from CBP series 7.30.19)
Now 64 years of age, Bochy was actually born in Landes de Bussac, France while his father was serving in the U.S. Army. His family ultimately moved to Florida, and he became the first round draft choice at 23rd overall in the 1975 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros.
Bochy reached the big-leagues with Houston in 1978, beginning what would become a nine-season career as a player in Major League Baseball. A catcher, he was famously plowed into by Pete Rose, who was scoring what would prove to be the winning run in the top of the 10th inning as the Phillies rallied to tie up the 1980 NLCS at two games apiece. He was the backup catcher with the San Diego Padres team that won a National League pennant in 1984.
After his retirements as a player, Bochy was hired to manage in the San Diego minor league system. In 1993 he was moved up to the big club, taking over as the third base coach. Then for the 1995 season, Bochy was finally hired as manager of the Padres. Over 12 years as skipper in southern California, Bochy amassed a 951-975 record, guiding the Friars to four division crowns and a 1998 NL pennant.
Let go following the 2006 season, Bochy immediately caught on as manager with the division-rival Giants, and has been the skipper in San Francisco ever since. Over 13 years by the bay, Bochy has a 1,029-1,021 record and has led the Giants to three World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. His 2016 team went to the postseason as a Wildcard team.
Overall, Bochy is now in his 25th consecutive season as a manager in Major League Baseball. He has a combined record of 1,980-1,996 between his work with the Padres and Giants organizations. He is just 28 wins behind Leo Durocher for 10th place on the all-time MLB managerial wins list, 60 behind Walter Alston for 9th place on that list. That top ten spot is his goal, as Bochy has battled health issues and has already announced that this will be his final season as manager.

THE BALLPARK

Oracle Park: Originally opened for the 2000 season as “Pac Bell Park” and having undergone two prior name changes, most recently to “AT&T Park”, this gorgeous facility took on the “Oracle Park” name this season.
Lying off the San Francisco Bay, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is visible from the right field bleachers, beyond which lies China Basin, now nicknamed “McCovey Cove” after Hall of Famer Willie McCovey. The Cove is a hangout via kayack and small water craft for souvenir hunters hoping to snare a home run ball flying entirely out of the yard.
To hit a ball into that cove, batters have to lift one over the 24-foot high right field wall, that number in feet chosen to honor Willie Mays, the Hall of Famer who wore that number with the Giants.
Behind the left field bleachers is a giant Coca-Cola bottle, which lights up after any Giants home run. Playground slides can be found inside the bottle, which is located in a park-like area. Next to the bottle is the “Giant 1927 Old-Time Four-Fingered Baseball Glove” art work.
It is 309 feet down the right field line to that wall, out to 365 feet in right field and 421 to right-center, the deepest part of the ballpark. Around to dead center field it is 399 feet, then 404 in left-center, 364 in left field, and finally 339 feet down the left field line.
Though the Giants have won three World Series titles earlier in this decade – 2010, 2012 and 2014 – all of those championships were clinched on the road. The ballpark has been the site of three no-hitters, including a 2012 ‘Perfect Game’ thrown by Matt Cain.
The semi-finals and championship round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic were held here, and the park was an official sellout for Giants games over 794 consecutive games between October 2010 and July 2017.

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

Thursday: Partly cloudy with temps dropping from the lower-60’s at the 9:45 pm EDT first pitch into the upper-50’s during the series opener with winds moderate off the bay and just the slightest chance of precipitation.
Friday: Partly cloudy with temps in the lower-60’s at the 10:15 pm EDT first pitch and remaining consistent all evening with winds moderate off the bay and a 20% chance of precipitation during the game.
Saturday: Sun breaking out for the 4:05 pm EDT first pitch with winds moderate off the bay and a 20% chance of precipitation during the game.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, gorgeous afternoon for what will be a 7:05 pm EDT first pitch. Winds moderate off the bay and a 20% chance of precipitation during this ESPN Game of the Week.
San Francisco area forecast from The Weather Channel
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies opposition preview: San Francisco Giants

Giants stomp into South Philly as surprise Wildcard contenders

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Bruce Bochy is in his final season as Giants skipper

The Philadelphia Phillies (55-50) and San Francisco Giants (54-52) are each squarely in the hunt for a National League Wildcard playoff berth with just nine weeks remaining in the 2019 MLB regular season.

However, the two teams came to that race in very different ways. The Phillies bolted out to a hot start over the season’s first two months, leading the NL East Division into late May before stumbling.
The Giants, on the other hand, stumbled out of the gate. As late as June 29, San Francisco found themselves a dozen games below the .500 mark. With the second-worst record in the National League, they sat 8.5 back of a Wildcard berth, 19.5 out and in last place in the NL West.
But the Giants suddenly and unexpectedly turned their season around, and turned the playoff race on its head. They have won 19 of their last 24, moved to second place in their division, and are just 2.5 back in the Wildcard hunt, 1.5 back of the Phillies.
The franchise has won three World Series titles in this decade: 2010, 2012 and 2014. They also reached the playoffs in 2016, the last postseason appearance for the team. With an aging ball club that has finished a collective 60 games below .500 over the last two seaons, this winning burst has shocked most in the game. Can it continue? Can this team possibly sustain their recent hot streak?
On Wednesday, the MLB trade deadline arrives. It was expected that the Giants were going to be a seller. That was the general consensus as recently as three weeks ago. Now, could Farhan Zaidi instead become a buyer, hoping to inject just enough talent to push the Giants back to the postseason for another run?
The Giants offense has averaged just 4.37 runs per game this season, 25th of the 30 teams in baseball. Their 109 home runs are next-to-last in the NL, as is their .698 OPS. Their combined .237 batting average is the lowest mark in the league, and their 28 steals are tied for last. In other words, this is a team that even Phillies pitching without Aaron Nola getting a start should be able to contain.
On the mound, Giants pitching is middle-of-the-road with a .251 batting average against, and ranks 13th in strikeouts and 14th in OPS against. In other words, they should not be a major challenge for the Phillies inconsistent offense.
These two teams have played one another tough over the last three seasons, with the Phillies holding an 11-9 edge in those head-to-head meetings. They will meet again by the bay at Oracle Park in San Francisco in a four-game series during the second week of August.
This is a veteran Giants team that has suddenly remembered what it was like to win 7-8-9 years ago. Many of the position players were around with those title teams. That makes them tough while they are hot. But frankly, this is a team that the Phillies ought to be able to handle. This needs to be a series win, preferably a sweep for the home team.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Alex Dickerson (29/LF): .391/.454/.782, 6 HR, 19 XBH, 23 RBIs, 21 runs (traded to SFG from SD in mid-June)
Kevin Pillar (30/CF): .245/.275/.408, 12 HR, 38 XBH, 54 RBIs, 50 runs
Pablo Sandoval (32/3B): .266/.310/.510, 13 HR, 33 XBH, 38 RBIs, 39 runs
Brandon Belt (31/1B): .233/.350/.390, 11 HR, 30 XBH, 36 RBIs, 50 runs
Mike Yastrzemski (28/RF): .275/.322/.505, 9 HR, 22 XBH, 31 RBIs, 33 runs (grandson of Boston Red Sox legendary Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski is a rookie promoted 5/25)
Buster Posey (32/C): .264/.329/.396, 5 HR, 25 XBH, 29 RBIs, 32 runs
Joe Panik (28/2B): .232/.306/.313, 3 HR, 20 XBH, 27 RBIs, 33 runs
Brandon Crawford (32/SS): .234/.307/.376, 9 HR, 29 XBH, 44 RBIs, 40 runs

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Madison Bumgarner: Just as the Giants don’t have to worry about facing Aaron Nola, the Phillies will not face MadBum in these three games. Both aces went on Sunday for their respective teams. Bumgarner is 6-7 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.153 WHIP and 3.67 FIP thus far in 2019. He has made 23 starts, allowing 132 hits across 139.2 innings with a 140/29 K:BB ratio.
What makes Bumgarner relevant as this series progresses is the MLB trade deadline, which arrives on Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 PM EDT. For months now, Bumgarner has been one of the names subject to the most speculation. He will turn 30 years old on Thursday, the day after the deadline passes, and is due to become a free agent after this season.
Do the Giants really believe they can contend this season? Personally, I don’t. But if they do, perhaps Bumgarner stays. If Zaidi is as smart as I think he is, then a trade of the Giants longtime ace would be a major story right in the middle of this series.
In case you need a reminder of his résumé, Bumgarner was a National League All-Star and finished among the top ten in NL Cy Young Award voting each year from 2013-16. In 2014, the lefty was MVP of both the NLCS and World Series, helping earn his third World Series ring with the Giants. He was also named the AP Male Athlete of the Year for 2014.
Topping it all off, and important for a National League pitcher at this point, he can hit. Bumgarner took home a Silver Slugger in both 2014 and 2015. While teams acquiring him would certainly not be getting MadBum in his prime, they would indeed be getting a pitcher who can still pitch near the top of a rotation, one with tremendous, winning experience.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

TUESDAY – Tyler Beede (26/RH): 3-4, 4.85 ERA, 5.24 FIP, 1.477 WHIP, 66 hits over 65 IP across 13 games (11 starts) with a 62/30 K:BB
WEDNESDAY – Jeff Samardzija (34/RH): 7-8, 3.95 ERA, 4.58 FIP, 1.178 WHIP, 105 hits over 116.1 IP across 21 starts with a 102/32 K:BB
THURSDAY – Shaun Anderson (24/RH): 3-3, 5.06 ERA, 4.68 FIP, 1.487 WHIP, 85 hits over 74.2 IP across 14 starts with a 53/26 K:BB (as of the series opening his is listed as a TBD by the Giants, but it has been Anderson’s turn in the rotation)

THE SKIPPER

Bruce Bochy: Now 64 years of age, Bochy was actually born in Landes de Bussac, France while his father was serving in the U.S. Army. His family ultimately moved to Florida, and he became the first round draft choice at 23rd overall in the 1975 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros.
Bochy reached the big-leagues with Houston in 1978, beginning what would become a nine-season career as a player in Major League Baseball. A catcher, he was famously plowed into by Pete Rose, who was scoring what would prove to be the winning run in the top of the 10th inning as the Phillies rallied to tie up the 1980 NLCS at two games apiece. He was the backup catcher with the San Diego Padres team that won a National League pennant in 1984.
After his retirements as a player, Bochy was hired to manage in the San Diego minor league system. In 1993 he was moved up to the big club, taking over as the third base coach. Then for the 1995 season, Bochy was finally hired as manager of the Padres. Over 12 years as skipper in southern California, Bochy amassed a 951-975 record, guiding the Friars to four division crowns and a 1998 NL pennant.
Let go following the 2006 season, Bochy immediately caught on as manager with the division-rival Giants, and has been the skipper in San Francisco ever since. Over 13 years by the bay, Bochy has a 1,029-1,021 record and has led the Giants to three World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. His 2016 team went to the postseason as a Wildcard team.
Overall, Bochy is now in his 25th consecutive season as a manager in Major League Baseball. He has a combined record of 1,980-1,996 between his work with the Padres and Giants organizations. He is just 28 wins behind Leo Durocher for 10th place on the all-time MLB managerial wins list, 60 behind Walter Alston for 9th place on that list. That top ten spot is his goal, as Bochy has battled health issues and has already announced that this will be his final season as manager.

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

TUESDAY: It will be a hot time in the old town tonight. Real-feel for the 7:05 pm first pitch is expected in the mid-90’s with moderate winds and no chance of precipitation.
WEDNESDAY: It is going to storm during the day on Wednesday. Question is, how might it affect the game, if at all? Right now the call is for real-feel temps in the mid-80’s at the scheduled 7:05 pm first pitch. There is a 45% chance of showers and tstorms, decreasing throughout the night with light winds.
THURSDAY: For this first game of August, the 1:05 pm first pitch should see a real-feel in the mid-80’s with light winds. There is a slight chance of a lingering shower or tstorm, but nothing that should be a major factor.
South Philly forecast from The Weather Channel

Tim Beckham Making Most of Latest Opportunity

Former top MLB draft pick Tim Beckham finally producing in Tampa
The Tampa Bay Rays won the American League pennant in 2008, reaching the World Series for the only time in their history.
The excitement of that 2008 Fall Classic came just one year after the Rays had finished with the worst overall record in Major League Baseball.
As a result of that poor 2007 finish, Tampa Bay held the rights to the top overall pick in the MLB Amateur Draft in June of 2008. With that selection, the Rays chose shortstop Tim Beckham out of Griffin High School in Georgia.
Also selected in that first round included first baseman Eric Hosmer at third overall by the Kansas City Royals. The San Francisco Giants chose catcher Buster Posey with the fifth overall pick.
It was a third consecutive year in which the Rays were selecting within the top three overall picks of the draft. The previous year, the club chose pitcher David Price with the top overall pick. In 2006, the Rays took third baseman Evan Longoria at third overall.

2008 RAYS DRAFT: BECKHAM OR POSEY?

There was much debate in the Rays draft “war room” as they whittled the final decision down to Beckham and Posey. In the aftermath of the Beckham choice, an Associated Press report quoted EVP of Baseball Ops Andrew Friedman:
“It was an active debate, but I think at the end of the day when push came to shove and we were racing time, I think it was pretty clear to everybody that Beckham was the guy at the top of our board. We feel like he’s got an advanced approach to the game, a genuine enthusiasm for what he does, and we feel like he’s got a great chance to be an impact player in the major leagues.”
Friedman and the Rays could not have gotten the pick more wrong.
Price and Longoria would quickly rise to become key cogs for a Rays team that finally became a consistent contender. Beckham would take much longer to develop. Meanwhile, Posey was becoming a superstar.

PERSONAL AND INJURY TROUBLES IN MINORS

In the 2009 season, Beckham would hit .275, drove in 63 runs, and steal 13 bases at Low-A Bowling Green. The following year with High-A Charlotte, he hit just .256, but stole 22 bags.
In 2011, Beckham split the year between the AA and AAA levels. He posted professional career highs with a dozen homers, 44 extra-base hits, 70 RBI, and 94 runs scored. Beckham was just 21 years old at that point, and all signs were continuing to point up.
However, trouble would surface in the 2012 season. In May of that year, Beckham tested positive for the second time for a “drug of abuse’, and was suspended for 50 games.
Back at AAA in the 2013 season, Beckham hit .276 with a .342 on-base percentage. He appeared to possibly be back on track, and even got his first cup of coffee in the big leagues during late September.
It seemed as if the former top overall pick was finally on the cusp of a regular role with the Rays. But then, more disaster struck. This time it was in the form of a torn ACL while working out in preparation for the 2014 season. He was quoted at the time for MLB.com by Bill Chastain:
“Just training; it was supposed to be my day off. While doing a drill at the end of the workout, my tennis shoe hit the ground and I tried to cross over into a sprint. I was sprinting out of the drill and when my foot hit the ground, my foot slipped and my knee gave.”
Beckham would subsequently miss most of that 2014 season. He would receive just 95 at-bats across three levels of the minor leagues that year.

MORE DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS IN THE BIGS

In coming out for the 2015 campaign, the shortstop was simply looking to re-establish himself and show that he was healthy. After hitting .294 over his first 51 at-bats, Beckham was back in the bigs.
In Miami on April 11, 2015, Beckham cranked his first big league home run. The blast off Marlins lefty reliever Mike Dunn helped the Rays to a 2-0 victory. It would prove to be an outlier, not the sign of a long-awaited breakout.
Over the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Beckham failed to establish himself as a regular in the Rays lineup. In fact, he was demoted at the start of September of last season due to a series of base-running gaffes and a perceived lack of hustle.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN

All of Beckham’s struggles have been exacerbated by thoughts of what might have been for Tampa Bay. What might have happened had they only chosen Posey on that June day back in 2008?
The catcher would go on to become one of the great team leaders in the game, and one of its best players as well. Posey was the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year. He was the 2012 National League Most Valuable Player.
Posey has captured three Silver Slugger Awards, a Gold Glove, and has been a 4x NL All-Star. Oh yes, and he helped lead the Giants to three World Series championships.

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF NEW OPPORTUNITY

But perhaps now in 2017, something is finally clicking for Beckham. He was provided with an opportunity to play regularly thanks to starting shortstop Matt Duffy‘s slow recovery from off-season heel surgery. Beckham has thus far been making the most of that chance.
Through five weeks of the 2017 season, Beckham is hitting for a .275/.306/.520 slash line. He has driven six homers and has 11 extra-base hits over 109 plate appearances in his first 28 games.
His production is part of the reason that the Rays are off to a surprising start in the standings. The club was at the .500 mark prior to a Friday night loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
After a Rays victory earlier this week, Tampabay.com’s Roger Mooney quoted manager Kevin Cash on his shortstop’s performance this season:
“Beck’s having a good time out there. He’s obviously gotten some consistency. He’s got into that everyday routine, that everyday role. You know, he probably hasn’t had too many of those opportunities up here at the big-league level, and he’s making the most of it right now. He’s helping us win games, and that’s probably the most important thing.”
Talent has never been the question with Beckham. His problems have more to do with discipline, personal responsibility, and injuries. Still early in his prime at just age 27, if he can continue to produce, it could make for an interesting and exciting season for both Beckham and the Rays. Finally.

Buster Posey Leads Another Contending Giants Team

Last fall, the San Francisco Giants put a major scare into the eventual World Series champion Chicago Cubs. 
The Giants dropped the NLDS to the Cubs in four games, but not before coming within an inning of forcing a decisive fifth game.
That loss put an end to the Giants “even years” magic. The club had captured the Fall Classic in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
There were a number of key factors that allowed San Francisco to remain such a consistent threat during this decade. A handful of strong starting pitchers. Versatility with a deep bullpen. Outstanding defense.
One of the biggest keys, perhaps the most important, irreplaceable player during this run, was the club’s catcher.

POSEY ARRIVES, WINNING BEGINS

Buster Posey was the first round pick of the Giants at fifth overall in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft. He made his big league debut just a year later at age 22, and became the starting catcher in 2010.
In that 2010 season, Posey hit for a .305/.357/.505 slash line. He pounded 18 homers, drove in 67 runs, and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award. The Giants captured the franchise’ first World Series in more than a half-century.
Posey was off to a solid start once again the following season when he was felled by a horrific injury. On May 25th, Scott Cousins of the Marlins bowled into him in a home plate collision, causing Posey to suffer severe leg injuries, ending his season. The play resulted in baseball changing the rules on home plate collisions with the so-called ‘Posey Rule‘.
Returning in 2012, Posey took his game to another level. He hit for a .336/.408/.549 slash line, banging 24 homers and driving in 103 runs. The Giants again won the World Series, and Posey was named the National League Most Valuable Player.

POSEY AND GIANTS: CONSISTENT EXCELLENCE

He has been one of the top players in the game ever since. Posey has been an NL All-Star in four of the last five seasons, and was voted as the NL starting catcher for each of the last two Midsummer Classics.
He has received NL MVP votes each year while capturing three Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove Award. And once again, Posey led the Giants to a World Series crown in 2014.
Following his 2012 MVP campaign, Posey was signed to a nine-year, $164 million deal. The contract calls for him to make $21.4 million for each of the next five seasons.
Because of his accomplishments and the team’s commitment to him, Posey is an unquestioned leader in the clubhouse.
Posey has been a winner his entire playing career. He led his high school team to the Georgia 4A State Championship Game. In college, his summer teams won Cape Cod League championships in both 2006 and 2007.

2017 LIKELY ANOTHER STRONG YEAR FOR POSEY, GIANTS

The Giants are likely to be a leading National League contender once again in the 2017 season. Per Janie McCauley of The Sacramento Bee, Posey is looking to do even more this year.
“Hopefully there’s an adjustment I can make where I can keep that consistent hard contact rate but maybe get a few more balls in the gap or better.”
It’s not an “even” year; that string already broke. The Giants and their fans don’t care what the last number is on the calendar year. They know that with a motivated, healthy Posey at the fore, it will be another winning summer by the Bay.

Giants Must Strike Now, While Window Still Open

The San Francisco Giants have been consistent contenders in the National League West Division for much of the last eight years, but the club’s window of opportunity may now be closing.
It’s always a difficult decision when a club such as the Giants begins to hit a crossroads. How do you continue to win while restocking your big league team and your farm system with quality young players?
Few teams are able to pull off the feat well. Most who undertake the attempt have failed for a couple of seasons before realizing they simply have to cash in as many of their aging, higher priced veterans as possible in exchange for that younger talent.
The Giants have reached that crossroads. Their decisions are especially difficult because they do remain legitimate contenders who have division rivals with significant weaknesses. The window of opportunity to contend remains open, but general manager Bobby Evans needs to be aggressive this offseason.

In 2016, the Giants ended their “even year” streak of World Series victories. The club had won the crown in the 2010, 2012, and 2014 campaigns. It wasn’t for a lack of trying.
San Francisco finished second in the NL West to the arch-rival Los Angeles Dodgers, four games back in the standings. They were, however, able to secure an NL Wild Card playoff berth.
The Giants then rode a Madison Bumgarner gem to a 3-0 victory over the New York Mets in the NL Wild Card Game before losing a dramatic NLDS in four games to the eventual world champion Chicago Cubs.
The San Francisco Giants have been consistent contenders in the National League West Division for much of the last eight years, but the club’s window of opportunity may now be closing.
It’s always a difficult decision when a club such as the Giants begins to hit a crossroads. How do you continue to win while restocking your big league team and your farm system with quality young players?
But for all the drama in late September and into October, what happened over the second half of the 2016 regular season cannot be ignored.
The Giants led the division by as many as eight games on June 26, when they were 21 games over the .500 mark. They would go to 24 games over at the MLB All-Star break, still with a 6.5 game lead.
But from that point on, the Giants collapsed to a 30-42 finish. The Dodgers drove past them in August and never looked back. Meanwhile, the Giants had to win their last four in a row to finish tied with the Mets and hold off the St. Louis Cardinals by just a game for that Wild Card berth.
So where does San Francisco stand heading into 2017? The club will return its twin pitching aces, some clutch veteran hitters, and perhaps the best defense in the game.
Those pitching aces are Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto, the best left-right combo in the National League. Cueto will turn 31 as the team reports to Spring Training, and is signed for another five years. There are affordable team options on Bumgarner through 2019. The ace left-hander will pitch all of next season at age 27, and thus is just now entering his prime years.
The clutch veteran hitters would include catcher Buster Posey, who turns 30 at the end of Spring Training. Posey, like Cueto, is signed through 2021.
First baseman Brandon Belt will turn 29 in April, and is also signed through that 2021 season. Right fielder Hunter Pence also has an April birthday. But he hits 34, long in the tooth in today’s game. His deal runs for two more seasons.
Center fielder Denard Span is signed up with a team option that could take him through 2019. He turns 33 as Spring Training gets underway.
The defense should remain locked down thanks to the presence of perhaps the game’s best keystone combo in second baseman Joe Panik and shortstop Brandon Crawford. Both men took home Gold Glove Awards last week, as did Posey.
Crawford was further honored with his second Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award, and the team was honored as the Defensive Team of the Year. The biggest part of that equation is the up-the-middle defense.
The problem moving forward is the aging status of Pence and Span in the outfield, and the fact that there is now a gaping hole in left with the departure of veteran Angel Pagan.
Add that to light production at the third base position, and the looming specter of Bumgarner’s contract, and the fact that the Dodgers have major holes to fill. The Giants have an opportunity in 2017, but need to strike now to take advantage of the situation.
There is talent coming from the minor league system, but that talent does not appear likely to impact the big league roster very much in the 2017 season.
Evans seems to have money to work with. The Giants have carried a payroll north of $170 million each of the last two seasons. Fans support the team extremely well, flocking to beautiful AT&T Park at a rate more than 41,000 per game. Forbes ranked them as the fourth most valuable franchise in MLB this season at $2.25 billion.
Making a move on a couple of key free agents at left field and third base should make the Giants at least co-favorites with the Dodgers for the 2017 NL West crown, and make them legitimate contenders to push the champion Cubs as well.
There are players available this offseason. The two perfect fits may be the top bat on the market, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, and a player who would come right from those Dodgers in third baseman Justin Turner.
The Giants could also decide to get involved on one of the big closers in Kenley JansenAroldis Chapman, or Mark Melancon.


While it was a rough final three months by the bay, the Giants showed at the end that they still have the spunk and the talent to make things rough on the most dangerous teams in the game. With a couple of big moves right now, they can return to that status themselves in the 2017 season.