Buster Posey turns 33 years old in two weeks, yet he still is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. The question is, however, how many games behind the dish can he last?
Posey caught just 101 games last season as Stephen Vogt was a very viable backup option. He caught only 88 games in 2018 and 99 in 2017. Many believe that as Posey ages, he's headed for a future at first base, especially with his heir apparent, Joey Bart, nearly ready for the big leagues.
That doesn't seem to be the case right now, though.
Posey only started four games as a first baseman last season, and The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly reported Wednesday that Posey has been informed not to bother taking groundballs at first base. For now, the Giants don't plan to give him starts there.
“We know that every single day, he’s going to be our best option behind the plate,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said to Baggarly. “So we will work collaboratively to find the right workload for the 2020 season. But it will be our intention to have him in the lineup as much as possible.”
Posey last caught at least 120 games behind the dish in 2016, which was the last season he won a Gold Glove. Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi isn't putting a firm number on how many games he expects Posey to catch, but can see him in the squat for at least 120 games.
“We’ll just have to see once he gets into the rigors of the regular season. But hearing that number (120), I don’t think that’s out of the range of how this might play out," Zaidi said. "He’s so valuable at the catching position because of his defense and the leadership and the game-calling he provides back there.
"The best thing for us as a team is for him to catch as many games as he can physically manage.”
This certainly speaks highly of Giants first baseman Brandon Belt as well. The veteran causes a whole lot of reactions from fans, but Kapler has been a fan since Day 1.
Ever since Kapler was named as the Giants' new manager, he has spoken highly of Belt.
"I just think we value his approach at the plate so much and I think it's going to play very well for him in spring training but ultimately in the season," Kapler said of Belt late last month.
Kapler and Zaidi alike expect Bart to make his big league debut at some point for the Giants this season. Bart, who only has played catcher since his college career at Georgia Tech, will begin learning first base.
For now, the Giants are focused on what makes them the best team possible right now, and that's having Posey catching as much as he can.