With top prospect Joey Bart knocking on the door, could 2020 be the year when the San Francisco Giants finally move Buster Posey to first base?
With Posey's hip injury in 2018 and the emergence of a possible replacement in Joey Bart those talks could accelerate in 2020.
Could this be the year that Posey finally makes the full-time move to first base?
This discussion has been ongoing for the better half of the past decade, starting with Posey's horrific 2011 injury stemming from a home plate collision. However, the Giants never felt comfortable moving Posey, mainly because he was too valuable behind the plate and there was never a worthy replacement.
Now, with Bart on the cusp of reaching the majors, the team could finally be ready to make the move.
There are some hurdles, though.
Incumbent first baseman Brandon Belt is under contract for the next two seasons, so if the Giants are going to move Posey to first base, it would have to be accompanied by Belt either moving to the outfield or being traded. Those two scenarios both present a number of difficulties.
Posey will be the team's starting catcher to start the year since it's unlikely that Bart will make the Opening Day roster. He would have to have an absolutely amazing showing in spring training, and even then, the team may opt to have him start in Triple-A so he can play every day and so they don't rush him up too soon.
However, if Bart lights it up at Triple-A to start the year and Posey struggles, there will inevitably be some immediate speculation about a changing of the guard behind the plate.
It's fair to assume that we will see Bart in the majors at some point during the 2020 season, as long as he performs well enough at Triple-A and stays healthy. Depending on how Posey is doing, we may see Bart starting behind the plate a lot by season's end.
On the flip side, if Posey has a bounce back year, maybe Bart will not be called up until September when rosters expand. Then again, with Aramis Garcia sidelined with an injury for the foreseeable future, the backup catcher race is wide open.
I think the most likely scenario is that Posey performs at a slightly higher level than what we have seen recently, not terrible but certainly not his best. Then the Giants decide that Bart is ready for the big leagues so they call him up to replace Tyler Heineman as the backup.
At that point, they could use him at catcher, bench Belt, and start Posey at first against left-handed pitching.
So while there is a chance we will see more of Posey at first base this season, I do not think the change will be permanent just yet. If Bart forces the team's hand, it could be a different story, but as of now Posey will still be the starting catcher for most, if not all, of 2020.