San Francisco Giants: What's Good for Pablo Sandoval Is Good for Buster Posey
Dear San Francisco Giants Management,
Don't make the Buster Posey situation more complicated than it needs to be. History shows that a big—time player can emerge as a star without spending all his time playing one position until he finally earns a big league starting job.
The initial plan here was to mention that Giants Hall of Famers Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda both immediately cracked the big league roster when they'd proven they could hit big league pitching. While both were first basemen, Cepeda played left field, right field, third base and first base while on the Giants roster with McCovey. McCovey played the corner outfield spots and first base every season from 1959—1965.
So, why Posey can't stick with the big club as a hitter who catches and backs up at other positions?
Oh yeah, it's really complicated trying to learn the art of being a big league catcher without playing behind the plate every day, all summer throughout a guy's career. And of course, it really detracts from a guy's hitting if he's bouncing around from position to position. So, the Giants are best served by sending Posey to the minor leagues to catch every day—even if he's ready to hit big league pitching.
But, what about how the organization handled Pablo Sandoval?
The Giants most productive slugger, a future all—star, signed at age 18 and caught, played first base and played third base throughout his minor league career. The organization didn't know where to play him, but knew he had a big league bat.
Sandoval reached the big leagues at age 23, the same age that Posey is now. Pablo split time almost equally between the corner infield spots and the spot behind the dish. Even in his breakthrough year in 2009, he played both corner infields and saw action when catcher Bengie Molina was hurt.
Sandoval had more minor league at —bats than Posey has, but Posey played four years at a big-time baseball college (Florida State). Their situations are almost identical. So, why not treat Posey just like they treated Sandoval? When Posey's ready to produce with the bat, find him innings on defense and big league at—bats.
If Posey's ready to hit, then the Giants should let him play some first base. I mean he has worked out there this spring. Naturally, he can catch a couple games a week.
The real advantage to dropping the silly notion that a big league hitter should be catching every day in the minors is that having Posey on the roster means that career minor leaguer, Eli Whiteside. won't be wasting a roster spot.
The Giants would have three catchers on the roster — Bengie Molina, Posey and Sandoval. Assuming Sandoval and/or Posey would be in the lineup already, the club could even pinch—run for Molina late in a game and still have a defender available to put behind the plate.
Let history show that if Posey can hit big league pitching, he should follow Sandoval and two Hall of Famers from position to position in the big leagues until a full—time slot at his chosen spot finally opens.
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