National League All-Star, National League batting champion, National League MVP, and now add to that list, highest paid player in Giants history.
Today, Buster Posey signed a $167 million, 9-year contract extension with the San Francisco Giants. The contract also includes a club option for 2022, which could make the deal worth $186 million over 10-years. That surpasses the Giants previously highest paid player, Matt Cain, who signed a $127 million, 6-year deal last season.
It’s difficult however, to forget the horrifying scene at home plate after Scott Cousins barreled into Posey, breaking a bone in his lower leg and tearing three ligaments in his left ankle. With a devastating injury like that, was offering Posey the longest contract ever offered to a catcher the right move for the Giants?
Absolutely it is. Buster Posey may be the most versatile player the Giants have. As a catcher it is easy to think that perhaps the injuries he suffered could come back to haunt him while he is crouching behind the plate. Let’s not forget though, that the Giants were able to alleviate those problems by playing Posey at first-base last season. As a hitter he is a better option at first base than Brandon Belt, and basically a wash defensively.
Also, first base is not the only other position Posey has experience playing. As a college player at Florida State, Posey once played all 9 positions in one game, and at that time the only position he hadn’t played before was center field.
The Giants have some great all-around utility players, but none with the ability to mentor someone to fill his shoes like Posey can. If Posey is feeling uncomfortable behind the plate he can fill in nearly anywhere the Giants have a need, and can mentor his back-up catcher to minimize the defensive loss at home.
Posey can hardly be considered injury prone, he played 148 of 162 games last season, 119 behind the plate, 29 at first, and 3 as a DH. That coming after missing virtually the entire 2011 season after the collision with Cousins, not to mention that that comeback season included an All-Star appearance, batting title, MVP title, and World Series Championship.
The Giants were concerned last season that Posey’s injury could lead to his being “gun-shy” when it came to big plays at the plate, thinking he might be less willing to put himself in harm’s way should that play need to be made. However, throughout the season Posey repeatedly alleviated those fears, making huge plays at home plate, and showing he still has a great ability to pop up and fire to second to catch a stealing runner, throwing out 30 in 2012.
Posey’s poise, determination, ability, athleticism, and prowess both at the plate, and behind it, makes this possibly the best move the Giants have made this season, and one that will continue to pay dividends for years to come.