Giants

Giants' Buster Posey will not play in 2020 after adoption of newborn twins

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Giants' Buster Posey will not play in 2020 after adoption of newborn twins

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."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

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."

[RELATED: Webb makes fix to mechanics, embraces new role for Giants]

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.

Giants takeaways: What you might have missed in 6-4 loss to Astros

Giants takeaways: What you might have missed in 6-4 loss to Astros

BOX SCORE

The Giants have gone all-in on advanced stats, and for good reason. But sometimes you can describe a performance in the most old-school way possible and say everything you need to do. 

Through eight innings Monday night in Houston, the Giants had three errors and just two hits. There's all you need to know. 

A rally in the ninth put the tying run on first, but the hole was too deep and the Giants lost 6-4 to the Astros. This was yet another ugly performance for a team that leads the majors with 21 errors, and the lineup flirted with a no-hitter for a couple hours.

Here are three things to know from the night the Giants fell to 2-6 on the road trip ... 

Deserved Far Better

The frustration showed on Logan Webb's face throughout the third inning, and you can't blame him. Webb needed 36 pitches to get out of the frame and gave up four runs, through little fault of his own. The young right-hander got six outs, but one grounder was booted, another was wiped away by a catcher's interference (the fourth of the year by the Giants, incredibly) and a third was thrown away. 

Only two of the five runs Webb gave up were earned, meaning he has allowed just five earned in four starts this year. He's off to a good start. It would be much better if he had a functional defense behind him.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

No Backup Plan

Donovan Solano made a couple of errors at third base, and he also whiffed on Jose Altuve's grounder that was ruled a single but had a hit probability of just four percent. Solano was starting because manager Gabe Kapler wanted to give Evan Longoria a day off, but as good as he has been at the plate this year, he is miscast at the hot corner. 

The problem for the Giants is that Wilmer Flores doesn't look like he can really play there, either, and Pablo Sandoval doesn't seem like an option. Longoria is close to an everyday player, but the Giants don't really have a good alternative when they want to give him a breather. It might be worth a shot to move Mauricio Dubon over there and let Solano and Flores stay at second base.

[RELATED: Krukow believes Astros getting "free pass" this season]

Slater Tater 

Austin Slater hit a solo shot in the eighth to get the Giants on the board. It was his third homer in three days and came on a 96 mph fastball from right-handed reliever Josh James. 

The Giants didn't have a hit against McCullers until Solano pulled a double past Alex Bregman's glove with one out in the seventh. The hit gave Solano a 15-game hitting streak, the longest by a Giant since Angel Pagan went 19 games in 2016. He later added a second double. 

Astros getting 'free pass' with no fans in 2020, Mike Krukow believes

Astros getting 'free pass' with no fans in 2020, Mike Krukow believes

It was supposed to be a season of boos for the Houston Astros. After being implicated in a sign-stealing scandal this past offseason that saw Houston's manager and general manager be dismissed and suspended from MLB for the entire 2020 season, the Astros became public enemy No. 1 among the other 29 fanbases around the league.

But the coronavirus pandemic forced MLB to play the 2020 season without fans allowed in the ballpark, eliminating the potential for trash can bangs and vocal criticism throughout Houston's games. Prior to the start of the Giants' three-game series against the Astros at Minute Maid Park, broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper discussed how Houston is benefiting from the lack of MLB spectators.

"I think the Astros get a free pass this year because there's no fans in the stands," Krukow said on Monday's telecast. "I think that's where the abuse would have come from, they'd had signs that would have been creative, entertaining, mean-spirited, but they deserve it, they got caught."

[RELATED: Laureano-Astros brawl reminder for Giants to be responsible]

On the day before the Astros opened up the series against San Francisco, Houston was involved in a bench-clearing brawl with the A's after Oakland outfielder Ramon Laureano and Astros coach Alex Cintrón exchanged words. Laureano had been hit by a pitch three times in the series, and said the Houston coach mentioned his mother during the argument, causing Laureano to charge toward the Astros dugout.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly already received an eight-game suspension after throwing at and taunting multiple Astros hitters, and Laureano likely will be facing discipline as well.

While the Astros won't face any angry fans during the 2020 season, they shouldn't be surprised to see opposing players who were impacted by the sign-stealing expressing their frustrations.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]