The last time Buster Posey caught 120 games for the Giants he was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove and finished 14th in NL MVP voting. He was 29 years old, and the year was 2016.
Posey now is 34 years old and coming off a year where he stepped away from the game to take care of his family during the pandemic-shortened season. Will he be refreshed with hip surgery well behind him, or continue to look like a catcher in decline dealing with health issues?
Manager Gabe Kapler was asked Monday morning by KNBR's Brian Murphy if he could see Posey catching at least between 100 and 120 games this season, and Kapler sure sounded optimistic.
"No, I don't think that's unreasonable at all," Kapler said on the "Murph & Mac" show. "That's a big workload for a catcher ... I think nothing's out of the question. We wouldn't take anything off the table for a guy who takes care of himself like Buster does."
“It felt good today,” Posey told reporters Sunday via video conference. “It felt good to go through three innings and a couple of at-bats and not have any issues.”
Posey did catch 101 games in 2019, so it shouldn't be out of consideration for him to be in the 100 to 120-game range this year. However, there's no telling how he will feel as the season goes on and he certainly will need his rest.
The Giants signed veteran catcher Curt Casali this offseason, with Joey Bart and Chadwick Tromp expected to begin the year in Triple-A Sacramento.
"Now, that might not be the optimal split," Kapler said. "We might want to see Casali catch more maybe to keep Buster as fresh as possible, give him a few more off days. Again, I wouldn't say anything's out of the question at this point."
Posey has just three hits in 14 at-bats this spring, but the Giants couldn't care less about his stats in the Cactus League. They know what kind of hitter he is when the regular season starts up. All that matters right now is his health.
From Kapler's assessment, the Giants believe in Posey's ability to work with pitchers and get in the squat as much as possible this season. That of course would be a big plus for the Giants and something to monitor on a weekly basis as the season progresses.