Monday, December 07, 2009
From the Files of WTF?!?!: Buster Posey
Before I consider taking up a new hobby in axe collecting, let me step back and consider two perfectly legitimate reasons why the team is not declaring Buster Posey to be their starting catcher next season. One, having already been bitten in the ass by Tim Lincecum and his oncoming nightmare arbitration case, perhaps they'll wait a month to bring Posey up and thus delay his potential "Super Two" status should he come up and immediately start playing like Johnny Bench.
This makes perfect sense, though I doubt most fans will be very patient with this penny-pinching approach. If the Giants miss the playoffs by one game because Eli Whiteside was crapping it up for a month when Posey could have been in the majors, I doubt anybody is going to want to hear Brian Sabean's excuse of getting to save a few bucks.
Second, perhaps the team has every intention of entering 2010 with Posey as their starter, but are hand-wringing in the press now because they don't want to heap too many expectations on the kid and psych him out. If that's the case, fair enough, and it actually makes some sense. Let Posey go into Spring thinking he's battling or a starting job, let him "earn" his place as the everyday catcher, and prevent him from putting too much pressure on himself under the belief that the team considers him the savior of the offense.
I can live with that. What I can't live with is the chance that the Giants legitimately don't believe that he's ready for the major leagues. Posey has had 592 plate appearances in the minor leagues, so there shall be no small sample size arguments here. In those plate appearances, he's hit .327/.421/.538, including a quick .902 OPS at AAA. We aren't talking about a guy who simply held his own, or had a nice showing or two in the minors. There isn't a debate about whether or not his bat will translate to the majors. This is a guy who blasted the ever-loving crap out of the ball at every level and has nothing else to prove. Not a bloody thing.
An argument I hear all the time is that he isn't ready to call games for major league pitchers, especially pitchers with electric stuff like those on the Giants' staff. I really doubt a pitcher's game-calling ability makes much of a difference, but, assuming that it does, my question is: even if that's true, how is stashing him at AAA going to teach him to be a major league game-caller? How does catching Kevin Pucetas and Matt Kinney for 180 innings a year prepare him for Tim Lincecum? I mean, what sense does that make? Wouldn't the best way to gain experience calling pitches for major league pitchers be to...you know...catch pitchers in the major leagues?
The Giants gave Posey a $6 million signing bonus because they thought he was a premium talent who would be a key member of a championship-caliber baseball team. This dicking around with his status on the 25-man roster is just confusing and senseless. If he's not ready now, when is he ever going to be? At 22, it's not like he's some skinny kid right out of high school who needs to grow into his talent. He's here, he's a major league player, and the Giants should just give him the catching reins and back off. If Sabean seriously thinks a year of Jose Molina is a more appetizing option than a green Posey, we need to pray there's some hidden termination clause on that contract extension he just signed.
/dies a little inside.