As this decade of baseball comes to a close for the San Francisco Giants, Buster Posey has seemingly seen the rise and fall of his career.
Now he is ending the decade with the two worst seasons of his MLB career.
Can he turn it around?
Age does not help the production of any player, let alone a catcher who missed a good chunk of the 2018 season with a hip injury. Posey will turn 33 years old before Opening Day of next season.
That would seem to suggest that the 2019 version of Posey may have to be an indication of what to expect going forward as he embarks on the final two years of his contract.
That is the pessimistic view of Posey’s future, but it also might be the realistic one.
With a .254/.317/.360 line for a career-low 81 OPS+ and just six home runs in 443 plate appearances, he’s been just above a replacement-level player with 0.8 WAR.
Given the reality of those numbers, it’s hard to find an optimistic take on his future with the team.
However, there may be one in the form of Joey Bart.
The No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft absolutely tore it up during his time with the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels this season, after looking right at home during spring training.
For years, analysts have predicted that Posey would eventually move out of the crouch and over to first base, with someone else replacing him behind the plate. His recent decline coincides with a down year from incumbent first baseman Brandon Belt and the emergence of Bart, who could be ready for the majors at some point next season.
Here is a plan of attack that just might work.
The San Francisco Giants could re-sign Stephen Vogt to be their starting catcher to begin next season, giving Bart a little more time to develop before eventually stepping into the starting role.
Meanwhile, team president Farhan Zaidi could push hard to trade away Brandon Belt, either taking a minimal return to unload his remaining contract or eating some money to bring back a better return.
Posey could then become the starting first baseman in an attempt to take as much pressure off of his surgically repaired hip as possible, while also freeing his mind to focus more on hitting, rather than having to call a game from behind the dish.
Moving Buster Posey to first by no means guarantees that he will have some sort of offensive renaissance. However, it might be the best plan of attack for trying to prolong the productivity of the face of the franchise.