Buster Posey will be a San Francisco Giant at least through the end of the 2016 season. The upcoming season will be his first as an arbitration-eligible player. He’ll have three more of those before he becomes a free agent. That is, unless Posey and the Giants agree to a long-term contract that buys out one or more of his free-agent years. Should Posey commit to the Giants long-term? Should the Giants commit to Posey? What kind of deal makes sense?
Hard to believe, sometimes, but the reigning National League most valuable player has played in only 305 major-league games and amassed only 1,255 plate appearances. His first major-league at bat came on Sept. 11, 2009, during a brief September call-up. (He struck out). In 2010, the Giants didn’t call Posey up from the minors until late May, as Bengie Molina continued to handle the everyday catching duties. Even then, Posey played first base for a month before the Giants traded Molina to the Rangers and installed Posey behind the dish.
In 443 plate appearances in 108 games, Posey hit .305/.357/.505 with 18 home runs. His 134 wRC+ tied him with Ryan Braun for 15th-best in the National League. Posey was named National League Rookie of the Year and guided the Giants’ vaunted pitching staff during the team’s World Series run. He earned $400,000 but delivered $16.7 million in value with a 4.2 WAR.
Posey’s 2011 campaign was cut short by the devastating ankle and leg injury he suffered in a home plate collision with Scott Cousins on May 25. In his 45 games that season, Posey dropped off from his sensational rookie numbers and hit only .284/.368/.389 in 185 plate appearances. The power numbers, in particular, looked concerning but may very well have stabilized during a full season. Posey earned $575,000 but delivered $8 million worth of value in just two months of playing time.
And then there’s 2012. National League Batting Champion*. National League MVP. National League Comeback Player of the Year. World Series champion. Posey played 148 games and had 610 plate appearances and he did the most with them. He hit .336/.408/.509 with 24 home runs. He led the National League with 8 WAR, and if his base running wasn’t so poorly rated, his WAR could have reached 10. The Giants paid him $615,000 and he gave his team $36 million in value.
What does all of this mean for a possible long-term deal between Posey and the Giants?
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