The Big Money Molina era is officially over.
The Gerald D. Posey era is finally dawning.
Since the beginning of this season, Giants fans have been waiting for this day. And now that it's finally here, there are some implications that need to be addressed because we all know it isn't so simple as it always seems.
From the actual position (catcher) to the bullpen, this deal has far reaching ripples, so lets make sure we're all on the same page.
Hey, remember when the Giants drafted Posey? How they groomed him to be a catcher, and how he played catcher in the minors, and was really coming along at catcher, and then how the Giants called him to play first base?
That experiment at first is over. At least kind of over.
I think its safe to say that Buster is now the starting catcher. He was already catching Madison Bumgarner, and caught Barry Zito a couple times, and will finally take a shot at catching Tim Lincecum in the upcoming week.
I think that Eli Whiteside will keep catching Sanchez, and that Posey will still get some starts at first, but look for the kid to get a lion's share of the starts.
Whiteside is a perfectly capable backup whose stats this year actually rivaled Molina's in many categories, so I'm comfortable with him getting starts here and there.
But watch this upcoming series in Colorado. Remember, the Rockies ran wild on Lincecum and Molina when they came to San Francisco. With Buster "I Ain't Havin That" Posey behind the plate, things will be different.
With Posey now behind the plate, the infield should be shifting around a little bit. It makes sense to have Pablo Sandoval shift over to first, Juan Uribe to third, and have Edgar Renteria start at shortstop.
Now, it would make sense, but there seem to be some problems with that situation. With Uribe and Renteria both in the starting lineup, the Giants are again starved for middle infield depth.
The odd man out seems to be Travis Ishikawa, who has actually proved invaluable off the bench as a pinch-hitter. But if the Giants need a middle infielder, they have a glut at the corners with Panda, Uribe, and Huff, so Ishi might get the boot.
If Huff moves back to first, and Renteria and Uribe form some sort of platoon, that would relegate most of the rotating to the outfield, which is much easier. Aaron Rowand, Pat Burrell, Andres Torres, and Nate Schierholtz could very well manage in the outfield with Huff as a backup if needed.
The Giants bullpen improved vastly from 2008 to 2009. That can't be said this year.
Jeremy Affeldt went from being a candidate for setup man of the year to left-handed middle reliever almost overnight. Sergio Romo and Guillermo Mota both spent time as the setup man and both had their problems.
Dan Runzler has walked more than he ever has in his career, but has been having better outings lately. The Giants need Denny Bautista because he's the only long arm in the bullpen.
Add in Chris Ray, and there's a lot of middle relievers and short relievers, but not many consistent role players, aside from Brian Wilson.
But, in a stretch of 20 straight games until the All-Star Break, and with the Giants starters looking more human than ever before, having a glut of bullpen arms can't be too bad for the team.
When Bengie Molina re-signed this season, one of the loudest reasons— that wasn't actually admitted by anyone— was that Tim Lincecum wanted him. And when a two-time Cy Young award winner asks for something, it's probably a good bet to give it to him.
But Lincecum, and the San Francisco staff as a whole, has faltered in the past couple go-rounds. I'm not saying this is at all Bengie's fault. I'm not saying that at all.
But maybe a change of pace is all this staff needs. Look at Sanchez's stats pre and post Eli Whiteside. Bumgarner is comfortable throwing to Posey, since he was in AAA.
And like I said, Cain and Zito have also got in on the throwing-to-Posey action. Sometimes some fresh blood can freshen up a team, and since Chris Ray isn't exactly a new addition to the everyday lineup, then maybe an offense without Molina will have to do.
It'll bring in a new combination of guys to the starting lineup, and maybe that combination can jump-start this team right now. God knows they need it.