Despite being just 34 years old, Buster Posey will retire from the Giants and MLB on Thursday, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic.
The news, while not surprising to some given Posey's recent comments after the Giants were eliminated from the National League Division Series by the Los Angeles Dodgers, still was stunning.
With Posey hanging up his cleats after 12 MLB seasons, the conversation now shifts to his Hall of Fame candidacy.
While Posey has plenty of hardware -- 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, 2012 NL MVP, seven NL All-Star appearances, a Gold Glove, four Silver Sluggers, a batting title and three World Series rings -- his overall stats don't jump off the page.
While Giants fans fully understand the impact Posey has had on the franchise since his MLB debut at the end of the 2009 season, broadcaster Duane Kuiper believes the catcher could be hurt by those that didn't watch him play every day.
"He's a generational player a position that is uncommon for a generational player to be, just because of the longevity of what it takes," Kuiper told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic and Cole Kuiper on the latest episode of "Giants Talk" on Wednesday. "And remember, he played 45 games in 2011 and he played no games in 2020. So that's basically been missing two years. And if you miss two years, I'm going to give Buster a leeway of at least 250 more hits, and I'm going to say the ballpark cost him 100 home runs. So he's around 1,800 hits and he's around 250 home runs, which, those numbers are a lock for the Hall of Fame. And I think he's going in anyway.
"But there are people on the East Coast that have no clue as the value of what he meant to this franchise in playing for the longest time in the most difficult offensive ballpark in the major leagues. If Buster, as an example, played in Arizona or in Denver, he'd have 150 more home runs. Then the numbers speak for themselves."
Posey is walking away as a lifetime .302/.372/.460 hitter with 1,500 hits, 293 doubles, 158 homers, 729 RBI and 44.9 WAR (Baseball Reference). Per Jay Jaffe's WAR scoring system, Hall of Fame catchers have an average WAR of 53.8.
Cole Kuiper brought up Yadier Molina, who has spent 18 seasons as the backstop for the St. Louis Cardinals. Molina's counting stats look better because of the extra six years of experience, but he has a 42.1 WAR (Baseball Reference). Molina has more All-Star appearances (10), more Gold Gloves (nine) and four Platinum Glove awards, but Posey has his beat in World Series titles (three to two).
While Posey is retiring, Molina plans to play a 19th season with the Cardinals in 2022.
"Yadi Molina is going to get in for a lot of reasons, because of his longevity and that fact that just rarely did he get hurt or did he lose any playing time," Duane Kuiper said. "Look, he's a lifetime .280 hitter, he's got almost 2,200 hits. So I think Yadi Molina is an absolute lock. I think Buster's a lock, but I think there's half the country that just doesn't appreciate him and they'll look strictly at his stats. And I think if you look strictly at his stats, then I think you have a problem with some people voting for him as far as being in the Hall of Fame."
The debate will begin in five years when Posey first appears on the Hall of Fame ballot. If you ask anyone that has spent any amount of time watching the Giants over the last decade, they will tell you he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
The story of baseball from 2010 through 2020 cannot be told without Posey, meaning he has a very strong argument for enshrinement in Cooperstown, even if the numbers are eye-popping.