The Buster Posey era appears to be coming to an end in San Francisco.
The seven-time All-Star catcher is set to announce his retirement in a news conference Thursday, a source told MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi on Wednesday. The Giants have not confirmed the announcement, which was first reported by The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly.
There was a chance Posey would become a free agent this offseason, with the Giants holding a $22 million club option on him (with a $3 million buyout) for 2022. Most assumed the two sides would remain together, but instead, the 34-year-old Posey will walk away after a 12-season career that will have many predicting eventual enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.
While the decision was unexpected, Posey hinted that he was looking forward to spending more time with his family after the Giants were eliminated in Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the Dodgers last month. Posey and his wife, Kristen, have four young children, including twin girls they adopted last summer.
“I’m definitely just going to take some time with my wife, talk with her and be able to be a full-time dad of four kids for the first time in a while,” Posey said. “I’m just going to take it slow and see how things progress.”
Posey’s list of accomplishments is a long one. He was the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year and the 2012 NL MVP, while also earning four Silver Slugger Awards, one Gold Glove Award behind the plate and one NL batting title. Then there is the tremendous team success during his tenure. Posey helped the Giants win World Series championships in 2010, ‘12 and ‘14, guiding pitchers such as Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum along the way.
What makes Posey’s decision a surprise is that he enjoyed a huge resurgence in 2021. After two seasons of declining performance in 2018 and ‘19, he opted not play in the pandemic-shortened ‘20 season. Perhaps rejuvenated by the time off after so many seasons crouching behind the plate, Posey enjoyed his finest offensive campaign since 2014. He hit .304/.390/.499 (140 OPS+) with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs in 113 games, making his seventh All-Star team.
With Posey’s help, the Giants shocked the baseball world by going 107-55 to beat the heavily favored Dodgers by one game for the NL West crown. Posey then posted an .850 OPS during San Francisco’s five-game NLDS loss to L.A., striking out against Kenley Jansen in what could be his final plate appearance.
Posey’s time in the Giants organization began way back in 2008, when the club selected him fifth overall in the 2008 Draft out of Florida State. He shot through the Minors and made his MLB debut on Sept. 11, 2009. It wasn’t long before he was entrenched as a franchise cornerstone.
If this is it for Posey, he finishes his career with a .302/.372/.460 batting line, 158 home runs, 729 RBIs and 44.9 wins above replacement (WAR), per Baseball-Reference.
There will be no replacing Posey, but the Giants do have an heir apparent in top catching prospect Joey Bart, who is close to big league ready after spending the bulk of the 2021 campaign at Triple-A Sacramento. Veteran Curt Casali, who served as Posey’s backup this year, is also under team control for one more season.