The San Francisco Giants usually are in good shape when they have a good backup catcher. Nick Hundley has been the best backup to Buster Posey that they’ve ever had, and they have to find every way possible to keep a hold of him for 2018.
The San Francisco Giants have had a whole host of backups for Buster Posey in past years. Eli Whiteside, Hector Sanchez, Andrew Susac, and Trevor Brown. Hector might have been the best of them (when he was healthy) and Susac had the highest ceiling (when he was healthy). This year that changed with the signing of Nick Hundley.
The Giants finally got consistent production out of their backup catcher. Of course you aren’t going to copy and paste Buster Posey’s offensive prowess onto a backup catcher. But so far, this is the best backup situation they’ve had for him and it took them seven years to get it to him.
In 200 plate appearances, Hundley has put up a .252/.281/.434/.716 slashline with nine homers, and 23 doubles. Hundley has 69 hits (nice), and almost half of them are XBH. That’s really big to have from a backup catcher.
Hundley will be a 34 year old free agent next year, and likely be looking at being a backup to a contending team. The Giants probably can’t guarantee him a contending team. That’s really hard to do. However, they can attempt to convince him to come back. He’ll largely have a backup role next year, but could potentially see an increased work load if the Giants truly are convinced Belt isn’t the present any more at first base. The logical, in-house replacement for Belt is Posey. While nobody thinks Posey will move to first base full time for a while, that’s still an internal discussion that will have to take place, especially if they don’t land any 1A options at first base like an Eric Hosmer.
Hundley made a cool $2 million dollars this year, and could very well take another contract like that. Jonathon Lucroy is the premium catcher free agent this offseason, and everyone after that, maybe minus Alex Avila, is probably going to be a backup catcher on a contender, or a starter in a rebuild. Hundley is likely looking at another $2million dollar contract. If the Giants really do bring in some good talent, then he would have to consider a return.
The big thing here is there are no really good options internally for a backup. It’s not like Trevor Brown has shown us he’ll be anything different than what we saw in 2016. Their top catching prospect is nowhere near MLB ready yet, and still might end up with a move to first base! Hundley is a known quantity, and a solid professional. It really should be a no-brainer for the Giants to bring him back.