The San Francisco Giants will lose their star player in the form of Buster Posey for the rest of the season on Monday.
His ailing hip, which has impacted his performance all year, has finally caused enough damage to warrant surgery. This leaves the San Francisco Giants with an interesting dilemma in the near future.
While this certainly deals a great blow to the Giants’ playoff chances in 2018, the ramifications could change the course of Giants baseball going forward.
Earlier this year, the Giants selected Joey Bart with the second overall pick in the MLB Draft. This signaled to some that Posey’s days behind the dish were numbered. Bart has been impressive in the short time he’s spent in lower minor league ball thus far.
For the two teams he’s played for, he touts a .306 batting average, 10 home runs, and 36 RBIs. This is over just 180 at-bats, so he shouldn’t be crowned as Posey’s rightful heir to the (as Mike Krukow so eloquently puts it) squat just yet.
However, with Posey’s injury, it’s becoming apparent that the Giants may be best served to play Posey at first more often, if not permanently. This hypothetical scenario usually involves the trading of Brandon Belt or maybe moving him to left field.
Yet, what if the Giants decide that they don’t want Buster playing at first base. What if they choose instead to do something drastic in an attempt to shake up the foundation of the organization by trading Posey.
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Now, this is highly unlikely. Buster Posey is one of the greatest and most beloved San Francisco Giants ever. Trading him might have a similar effect to when Posey has been a key player in all three of the Giants’ championships in that there may be riots and fire in the streets of San Francisco.
The Bart/Posey situation reminds me a bit of the Joe Montana/Steve Young quarterback controversy.
At the current stage, the two aren’t analogous because Bart isn’t even in the majors yet. But if in the next few years Bart is called up and shows he can be a productive starting catcher in the big leagues, then things might get interesting.
In the case of the 49ers, Montana was traded away for the same reasons that Buster would be traded. He was getting old and banged up. He was still good when he was on the field, but Bill Walsh had established a culture where you got rid of guys when they’d outlived their usefulness.
The Giants, on the other hand, are the exact opposite.
If you’re a beloved Giant who has helped the team win a championship, in most cases (see Matt Duffy and Pablo Sandoval) you will be given a large contract that will extend into your 30s and make fans wonder why you’re getting paid over $10 million a year until you look out at the left field wall and see those orange world championship pennants and think, ‘Oh yeah, that’s why.’
Buster Posey is the undisputed face of the San Francisco Giants franchise and I don’t anticipate that to change in the next few years.
But if the Giants decide they’ve placed too high a premium on nostalgia after likely being four years removed from their most recent title, then we could see some big changes.