Buster Posey will remain the San Francisco Giants’ “main catcher” in 2021, leaving “the lion’s share of the reps” behind despite the presence of Joey Bart, said Gabe Kapler, sophomore manager, during a meeting with the media Tuesday.
Posey, a six-time all-star owed $ 21.4 million in the final year of his contract, sat down in 2020 over coronavirus pandemic concerns after he and his wife adopted twin girls who were prematurely born. Bart, ESPN’s seventh prospect in March, was called up to temporarily replace Posey and battled his way through a .233 / .288 / .320 slash line in 111 record appearances.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that Joey fought on different levels last year,” said Kapler. “We think the development he had, the development time he had in the top division has been really good for him. And we will continue to judge his readiness and see Buster as a safe lock for our opening daily list and the lion’s share of the Reps back there. “
33-year-old Posey fought after hip replacement in 2019, hitting .257 / .320 / .368 with seven homers and 24 doubles in 114 games. In seven previous seasons, Posey faced .308 / .378 / .466 while averaging 16 homers, 31 doubles, and 141 games a year – and Kapler hinted he might be able to unlock a similar production .
“He’s really in good physical shape,” said Kapler. “I think everyone will notice when they see him that he has added muscle, useful tissue. He looks agile and strong and fresh. I think the free time gave him a chance to reflect on where his body was, and he takes this opportunity to make improvements, some improvements in physical condition. “
Bart, who turned 24 on Tuesday, is still the catcher of the Giants of the future. But a Posey resurgence could allow the organization to take time to develop. Posey’s $ 167 million nine-year extension includes a $ 22 million club option for the 2022 season and a $ 3 million buyout. The former MVP has logged roughly 17% of his starts in the field on first base, which gives the Giants some versatility in keeping Bart on the active roster.
“It is difficult to pinpoint the exact number of games per week that Buster is likely to catch, but obviously everyone on this call knows that he will be our main catcher,” said Kapler. “Not just a voice on which we will rely heavily, but between the lines we will use his brain and body to the best of our ability.”