Buster Posey retirement: Giants’ options for receiver in 2022, including top prospect Joey Bart
Thusday,after 12 big-league seasons, three World Series championships, seven All-Star selections and a Most Valuable Player award. Posey was the best all-round receiver of his generation, and when the time came, .
Posey, 34, certainly didn’t limp until the finish. He created a 0.304 / 0.390 / 0.499 batting line with 18 home runs in his new 2021 season, when he led the Giants to 107 wins and the NL West title. Posey has played so well this year that the The Steamer projection system ranked him as baseball’s fourth-best catcher in 2022:
- Yasmani Grandal, White Sox: 4.5 WAR
- JT Realmuto, Philly: 4.1 WAR
- Will Smith, Dodgers: 3.6 WAR
- Buster Posey, Giants: 3.4 WAR
- Travis d’Arnaud, the Braves: 3.0 WAR
Replacing that level of production will be nearly impossible, and frankly expecting Posey to behave the way he did in 2021 again in 2022 would have been insane. It was a best-case scenario season, and Posey would have started next year with more miles on his body and sleeves on his knees. Catchers his age usually turn into pumpkins.
That said, the Giants must now replace Posey. They are unlikely to replace him with a true mid-level producer, as catchers who strike like this are rare, but they also don’t want to replace him with a rescue companion. Here are the club’s options to replace Posey on the eve of his retirement announcement.
Stay at home
All things considered, the Giants are in good shape to replace Posey internally. They have a top prospect that hits Joey Bart, the No.2 pick in the 2018 draft. Bart has hit .295 / .358 / .472 with 10 home runs in 67 AAA games this season and has been in 35 games with San Francisco over the past two years. He did everything right at the highest level of the miners.
MLB.com currently ranks Bart as baseball’s No.16 prospect. Here is an excerpt from their screening report:
Bart’s batting speed, strength, and leverage in his 6-foot-2 frame give him a well above average raw pop, more than most receivers have… Bart has gone from a high school student with questions as to whether he could stay behind the plate at a potential Gold Glover. He has worked hard on his defense and has become a quality receiver who blocks balls well and displays a strong and precise arm. He moves well for a big receiver and the San Francisco pitchers have praised his ability to call the game and his leadership.
Handing over the reins to Bart and pairing him with a veteran replacement next season – outgoing replacement Curt Casali may remain in the squad’s control as a player eligible for refereeing in 2022 – makes sense. It’s risky, the move from Triple-A to everyday big league receiver is huge, but Bart is very talented and should be able to handle it defensively at a minimum.
It should be noted that the Giants have another hope of capture with Patrick Bailey, the No. 13 pick in 2020. He has reached 322 / 0.415 / 0.531 in A singles this season and is a few years away from the big leagues. The Giants could give Bart an extended look (extended like in 2-3 years), and if that doesn’t play out, Bailey comes along and gives the club another shot at having a long-term safety net.
Free scouring agency
Diving into free agency to replace Posey is always a possibility and it could be the right move. The problem? The free agent catcher class this offseason is incredibly low. Our RJ Anderson only ranked one receiver among his top 50 free agents, and he was No.49: Manny Piña. The Brewers’ longtime save hit 0.189 / .293 / 0.439 with 13 home runs in 208 home plate appearances in 2021.
The only other free agent receiver this offseason with a chance of catching a bit steadily next season is Yan Gomes, who has hit .252 / .301 / .421 with 14 homers between Nationals and Track and Field this season. His defense slips a bit and the more he plays the more exposed he is, but Gomes, 34, is still a viable big-league receiver.
Other free agent receivers include Robinson Chirinos, Sandy León, Wilson Ramos, Austin Romine, Chance Sisco and Kurt Suzuki. Like I said, this is a very weak free agent capture class. Gomes and Piña are clearly the best of the best. So yes, the Giants could look to free agency to replace Posey. However, they are unlikely to be happy with what is available.
Look at the trade market
Already a potential commercial catcher target is irrelevant:. Barnhart would have been the No.1 free agent receiver by a significant margin and Detroit admitted that, so they sent a prospect to the Reds and will exercise Barnhart’s reasonable $ 7.5 million club option for 2022. .
Even with Barnhart already moved, the market for catchers is much more promising than the market for free agent catchers. Willson Contreras (Cubs), Carson Kelly (Diamondbacks), Gary Sánchez (Yankees) and Jacob Stallings (Pirates) could all be available, with Contreras and Sánchez being the most likely to move, I would say. Getting Kelly from a division rival could also be difficult.
Another potential commercial target: Francisco Mejía (Rays). Tampa is likely to exercise his $ 7 million club option for Mike Zunino, which will almost double his salary. Mejía is set to make almost $ 2 million from refereeing next season and spending that much on a backup receiver isn’t much like Rays, is it? It is possible to return Mejía to control the payroll.
Losing Posey is a big blow to the 2022 Giants even if you wouldn’t expect him to repeat his 2021 performance. All things considered though, the team are a good place behind the plate. They have a top MLB lead prospect in Bart, so they can explore free agent and trade options without desperation. If anything makes sense, so much the better. They can act. Otherwise, handing things over to Bart is justifiable.