Buster Posey's sacrifice bunt most obvious sign yet he's slowing down

Buster Posey's sacrifice bunt most obvious sign yet he's slowing down

Father Time is undefeated.

For so many years, ever since arriving in San Francisco as a rookie, the Giants could count on Buster Posey providing quality at-bats, with some pop in the middle of the order. But as his career has worn on and injuries and surgeries have taken their toll, Posey is clearly no longer anywhere near the impact player he used to be, at least offensively.

That depressing development was never more evident than Posey's first at-bat in the Giants' frustrating 6-4 loss to the Pirates on Monday night, in which Pittsburgh scored four runs in the ninth to steal the victory. Posey, batting second, faced Pirates starter Trevor Williams with a runner on base in the bottom of the first, as Mike Yastrzemski drew a leadoff walk.

But rather than attempt to swing away to try to put a crooked number on the board early, Posey did something we've never seen from him before: He laid down a sacrifice bunt.

In his previous 1,248 games, Posey, he of the .302 career batting average, had never done such a thing. And while Posey successfully advanced Yastrzemski -- who would eventually come around to score on an Evan Longoria RBI single -- to second, the fact that he laid down a bunt to do so -- in the bottom of the first, no less -- was the most obvious sign yet that even the Giants understand he isn't capable of being the impact hitter he used to be.

Now, to be fair, Posey would later add a single, and he's been heating up a bit as of late. He's batting 11-of-27 (.407) over his last seven games and appears to be closing the season strong. However, none of those hits have been of the extra-base variety, and that points to one of the Giants' most pressing issues moving forward.

Posey is batting .257 with six home runs and 35 RBI over 369 at-bats so far this season, with the worst on-base and slugging percentages of his career. He wasn't an All-Star for the first time since 2014, and at this rate, it appears those days are over. 

That's not to say Posey doesn't have a significant role to play next year and beyond. As a catcher, one could argue his defensive strengths and ability to manage the pitching staff are more important than his power numbers, and he'll likely absorb even more leadership responsibilities in the wake of Bruce Bochy's departure. But if the Giants are going to take one or more steps forward offensively next season, it seems unwise to count on Posey being a prominent cause of that development.

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Posey has had one hell of a career, but he is clearly in the twilight of it now.

Giants GM Scott Harris grew up Cubs fan, brother favored San Francisco

Giants GM Scott Harris grew up Cubs fan, brother favored San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Scott Harris said goodbye to family members on Monday, a Giants employee walked over and dropped off two big bags full of jerseys and orange-and-black gear.

One of his parents needed to load up on the gifts more than the other. 

Harris grew up in Redwood City with a mother who is a Giants fan, but his father, who is from Chicago, is a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. When it came time to pass on their rooting interests, they came up with an easy solution for their children.

"They divided the sons," Scott said, smiling. "I was raised a Cubs fan and my brother was raised a Giants fan, which put my nephew Teddy in an awkward spot because his dad loves the Giants and his uncle was working for the Cubs. Now at least Teddy has a little more clarity."

As Scott finished telling the story, his brother, Chris, laughed and quickly clapped. This worked out well for half of the Harris family. Scott will try and help his mother and brother's favorite team get back to the postseason, and his father has already benefited from the son's talents. Scott was part of the front office that finally brought a championship to Wrigley. 

On his first full day on the job, Scott talked about what made the Giants such a good fit -- aside from the family's rooting interests. He's excited to be back in the Bay Area and noted that as he took profile pictures under the sun at Oracle Park, the temperature was in the mid-20s back in Chicago. Harris has also been through a winter in New York, so he was thrilled to be working back in the Bay Area. The entire Harris family was fired up, too. His parents and brother sat in the fourth row for an introductory press conference and then got a tour of the clubhouse. 

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"I want to thank my family for always supporting me and their relentless pursuit of a way to get me back to the Bay Area. It worked, thank you," Harris said as he looked out as his parents and brother. "It's such a privilege to be here. It's a privilege to come back home. It's a privilege to work for a flagship organization with such a passionate and deserving fan base. 

"I grew up in Redwood City and vividly remember learning what the game looks like at the highest level by watching generations of Giants players come through Candlestick and come through this park."

Giants closing in on new manager after hiring Scott Harris as their GM

Giants closing in on new manager after hiring Scott Harris as their GM

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Giants officials and members of the media filed out of the press conference room at Oracle Park on Monday, a team employee reached over and flicked off one set of lights. Nobody bothered to take down the podium or remove the temporary seating. That all might be needed again in a few hours.

The Giants introduced Scott Harris as general manager on Monday and are poised to hold another press conference for their new manager. Harris is in the process of meeting with the remaining candidates and Farhan Zaidi said he would "have significant input into the final decision."

Zaidi said the manager announcement would come this week, and the Giants were internally preparing to introduce a new manager as soon as Tuesday. There are still three known finalists, and no decision had been made as of Monday morning. There are two who have separated from the pack, though. Former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and Astros bench coach Joe Espada both have high-level supporters in the organization, per sources, and Kapler met with Giants officials again on Monday. He is said to be the frontrunner at this point. 

The search has lasted more than a month now, in part because it ran as the same time as the search for a new GM.

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"Having both of these balls in the air at the same time has made scheduling difficult and tricky at times," Zaidi said. "I'm just really happy that we have been able to get (Harris) in place and he does have that chance to connect with those candidates and provide input and really have a say in the final decision that I expect us to make this week."