The San Francisco Giants have discussed some big changes coming in the off-season, including possible trades of core players.
Posey is out the remainder of the season with a hip injury and that could lead the Giants to switching him from catcher to first base and possibly trading Belt.
Belt could be moved to left field, where he has started 64 games over the course of his career.
However, if both players move positions, the Giants will impact their defense drastically at three positions.
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Whether Nick Hundley is resigned in 2019 or rookie Aramis Garcia takes over the every day catching job, Posey is head and shoulders above them defensively. Same with Belt, who is in line to win his first defensive gold glove at first base.
While the Giants offense has struggled this year, their pitching has been strong and the defense behind them is a big reason. With how Posey calls games, fields his position, throws out runners and helps the young staff feel comfortable, it’s hard to measure just how important the future Hall of Famer has been.
When you factor in how many defensive runs are saved by Belt’s play at first, it is clear that they are key to the Giants success in 2019. If the Giants were to move Posey to first base next year, it’s possible that any gain in offense won’t be enough to help win more games.
For all of the Giants offensive struggles in 2018, Posey and Belt’s health had more to do with that than their defensive positioning. With a healthy Posey, who had been battling a hurt hip since May, his offensive numbers will be much better next year, even if he stays behind the plate.
Belt, who has struggled to stay healthy, may not be any more likely to be healthy next season, but his value at first deserves to be considered.
One thing is clear — the decision the Giants front office makes with Posey and Belt next season will play a huge role in the direction this team takes in 2019 and beyond.