The move of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey to first base permanently is inevitable. If the Giants or any other team want to keep him healthy for a decade or beyond then the move has to be made.
Posey has already won an NL Most Valuable Player Award with San Francisco and helped lead them to two world’s championships in the last three years. The one year that the Giants did not win, Posey was injured and missed 117 games in 2011. San Francisco not only failed to repeat, they did not make the playoffs as well.
In 2012, Posey finally played a full season and put up monster numbers while playing the bulk of his games behind the plate. In 143 games he finished with a .336 batting average, 24 home runs and 103 RBI. The .336 average led the NL. Posey did this while making 111 starts at catcher and 29 at first base.
The 29 games at first may be a portent of Posey’s future. It is not uncommon for young catchers who can hit to be moved to another position. Sometimes it happens right away as was the case with Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper who was drafted as a catcher in 2011. Often it comes when a catcher is up in age and the team wants to get a few more good offensive seasons out of him.
In Posey’s case, it could come later. The Giants have 24 year old Brandon Belt manning first at the moment. Though he did not put up the same numbers as Posey in 2012, Belt’s .275 average, 7 home runs and 56 RBI were not bad. One has to suspect that as he grows and gains more experience those numbers will go up. If they do, Belt will remain at first and Posey behind the plate.
However, if the Giants feel that Posey is more valuable at first base than Belt they may make a move. Somewhere down the road, San Francisco will have to pay Posey big money and when that happens they will want to get the most out of their investment. The Giants could also risk losing Posey as a free agent in 2017 if an American League team willing to play him at first and let him be a designated hitter decides to bid on his services.
Posey is only 25, but the wear and tear of catching could erode his skills quickly. San Francisco has already conceded this by letting him play first from time to time.
It may be a good idea if the Giants moved him to first permanently and do it sooner rather than later.