Giants camp to be all Buster Posey, all the time

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I don’t believe we ever officially welcomed Andrew Baggarly to the fold over here. Already my favorite Giants beat writer, he just made the move from the San Jose Mercury News to CSN Bay Area, where he’ll continue covering the team.

Baggarly today provides a full rundown on the current plans for Buster Posey, who is coming back from last year’s gruesome ankle injury. He’s all ready to play and he’ll catch a couple of pitchers during the first official workouts in Giants camp on Sunday, but he’ll also have a light workload initially in camp and he might spend some time at first base in an effort to keep him strong.

If you want more details than that, go read the full article. Or just do it anyway. We’re all one big happy family here under the Comcast umbrella.

Except, of course, I have to pick on Baggarly now, because he closes his article with this:

Everyone knows it: Posey’s recovery is the most significant storyline for the Giants this spring and it’s integral to their chances to reestablish themselves in the NL West. It’s no surprise that a large number of national media members have requested time with him after Sunday’s workout. The Giants arranged a news conference setting to deal with the requests.

Maybe it won’t be on par with the annual “State of Barry” news events. But Posey is every bit as important to the Giants as Barry Bonds used to be.

No. No way. Not even close. Probably no one since Babe Ruth has ever been as important to his team as Barry Bonds used to be. Forget for a moment about how he got to be the player he was and just amaze at the numbers: Bonds posted an OPS over 1.000 in 13 straight seasons, topping out at 1.422. He won seven NL MVP awards, including four in a row from 2001-04. Those four seasons rank fourth, second, eighth and first all-time on the single-season OPS list.

I’m a big Buster Posey fan, but the odds are against him winning even one NL MVP award. His health is a huge key to the Giants’ chances this season. But the Giants did manage to go 86-76 without him last year. When Bonds missed most of 2005, the Giants slipped from 91 wins to 75.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”