Buster Posey to announce retirement Thursday
The offseason has officially only been going on for a single day, but things have already been surprising. The first big shock came while the World Series was still happening when Bob Melvin left the Athletics to take the open managerial gig with the Padres. On Wednesday, we got more shocking news. It was reported that Thursday morning Giants catcher Buster Posey will announce his retirement.
This news comes a bit out of left field, as Posey had not really made any public indications this was going to happen during the season, and he is just coming off his age-34 season. At the same time, he plays a grueling position behind the plate and has dealt with some injury issues in his career. Prioritizing the enjoyment of the rest of his life is certainly not a decision anyone can criticize.
Over his 12-year career, Posey was one of the best players in the league and one of the biggest stars in the sport. Leading the Giants throughout their dynasty in the early 2010s, the catcher had a five-year stretch from 2012-2016 in which he finished with at least 6.7 fWAR in every season. He won an MVP in that stretch as well. By fWAR, Posey was the second most valuable player in baseball from his first full season in 2011 through this past season, trailing only Mike Trout. His Hall of Fame case should be interesting, though given how great his peak was and the postseason success added in, I suspect he’ll make his way in.
There’s not much Red Sox impact here, as the Giants have internal options to replace Posey behind the plate. This is mostly just appreciating the career of one of the best in his generation.
Tucker Barnhart Traded from Reds to Tigers
Before the Posey news dropped, the big catcher news of the day was on the trade market where we got our first significant movement of the winter. The Reds sent catcher Tucker Barnhart to the Tigers in exchange for infield prospect Nick Quintana.
On the Reds side of things, the move does make sense from a baseball perspective. Cincinnati has a solid young catching option in Tyler Stephenson who is coming off a 111 wRC+. It makes sense to want to clear playing time for him and let him develop behind the plate and look for a cheaper backup option to spend the money elsewhere. This makes sense on the other side as well. Barnhart is not a great hitter, but he has a well-deserved strong reputation on the defensive side, and the Tigers have a young pitching staff that could benefit from that presence. Quintana is a former second round pick, but he’s never really been able to get going in the minors.
Looking at Red Sox spin here, we can actually start with Quintana. Those who follow the draft may recognize this game as he was selected in the 2016 draft and was seen by many as the team’s backup plan if they couldn’t sign Jay Groome. Beyond that, if the Red Sox were to decline Christian Vázquez’ option, this would take one competitor off the table for catching help. I still think they’ll keep Vázquez, though.
Arizona Fall League Update
Not a whole lot going on for the Red Sox down in the desert on Wednesday. Christian Koss was the lone position player in action, getting the start at shortstop and going 1-4 with a single and a run. On the mound, Josh Winckowski pitched a couple of innings out of the bullpen, allowing two runs on four singles and two walks with one strikeout.