Less than two weeks before Opening Day, the Giants now are without their longtime face of the franchise.
Catcher Buster Posey opted out of the season Friday morning after days of speculation and three missed workouts for what the Giants had deemed "personal reasons." Posey called a 9 a.m. press conference and announced that his family has adopted twin girls who were born prematurely last week. That is why he will not play in 2020.
"After weighing it for a long time, talking to doctors, I just feel like in the current state that we are right now and these babies being as fragile as they are for the next four months, at minimum, this ultimately wasn't that difficult a decision for me," Posey said. From a baseball standpoint, it was a tough decision, from a family standpoint and feeling like I'm making a decision to protect our children, I feel like it was relatively easy."
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Posey becomes the second high-profile player to opt-out before a season that is being played during a pandemic and amid constant concerns about the health and wellbeing of players. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price opted out last week. Players who opt out do not receive their salary or service time if they are not deemed high risk. Posey was due about $7.9 million in this shortened season.
The Giants returned to Oracle Park last Friday but Posey reported to camp a day late. When he addressed the media for the first time last Saturday, Posey was open about his reservations.
"You drive into the city of San Francisco and nearly every person you see has got a mask on, and I know it's not the same in all parts of the country but I think that's a perfect example of the way things have gone," he said last week. "People are not necessarily seeing eye-to-eye on how this disease is going to progress or has progressed. "Ultimately I just still feel like there are unknowns. That's where I'm falling. There's unknowns. Hopefully we have more solid answers here as medicine makes advances."
The Poseys already had two young children and on the previous call Posey also mentioned how five of their grandparents still are alive, and one of his primary concerns was the possibility that players could compromise family members who are older.
Posey, 33, joins a growing list of big leaguers who have opted out, though he has by far the highest-profile as a three-time champion and former MVP. Manager Gabe Kapler and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi both have said they will respect the decision of any player who feels it is not the right decision to play this season.
"These decisions are incredibly personal," Kapler said on Saturday. "We do have a lot of thoughtful players that are probably going to be thinking a lot about their families right now. I understand that."
While the Giants are understanding, there's no doubt that this is a significant blow to any postseason hopes they might have had in a shortened season.
Posey was expected to carry a heavy load, leading a pitching staff that has very few defined roles. He still is an elite defender, and while his offensive numbers have tailed off in recent years, he looked healthier this spring and the Giants felt a bounceback year was coming. In addition, Posey stands as the clear team leader. He spoke up on a team wide Zoom call last week, urging his teammates to take the virus seriously.