Giants sign MVP Buster Posey to $167 million contract

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Justin Verlander isn’t the only former MVP getting paid today, as Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that the Giants and reigning NL MVP Buster Posey have agreed to a nine-year contract.

Posey was set to make $8 million this season, but this new contract wipes that away and will pay him $167 million from 2013-2021. In doing so the Giants have bought out Posey’s three remaining seasons of arbitration eligibility (2014-2016) and his first five seasons of free agency (2017-2021), and there’s also an option for 2022.

Posey will be 35 years old in 2022, so this basically makes him a Giant for life. Not bad for a guy who was facing major questions this time last year as he came back from a broken ankle that ended his 2011 season. Posey’s deal is the second-highest in baseball history for a catcher, trailing only Joe Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million contract with the Twins that was signed in March of 2010. Posey now, like Mauer then, is coming off an MVP-winning season that included a batting title, although he was further from free agency than Mauer then.

Here’s the full contract breakdown:

Bonus: $7 million
2013: $8 million
2014: $12.5 million
2015: $16.5 million
2016: $20 million
2017: $21.4 million
2018: $21.4 million
2019: $21.4 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $21.4 million
2022: $22 million option or $3 million buyout

Nationals’ sell-off a vindication for Dusty Baker

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The Nationals threw in the towel on Tuesday, trading second baseman Daniel Murphy to the Cubs and 1B/OF Matt Adams to the Cardinals. The club also placed outfielder and soon-to-be free agent Bryce Harper on revocable waivers but took him back. The Nats’ sell-off is a vindication for former manager Dusty Baker, let go after the Nationals failed to advance past the NLDS for a second straight year.

Baker had roughly the same team current manager Dave Martinez did. It was arguably worse, considering he never wrote Juan Soto‘s name on the lineup card. The 2018 squad, sans Baker, has been marked by mutiny and underachievement. While failing to reach the NLCS in Baker’s two years was disappointing, he took them to Game 5 in the NLDS both years as well as 95 and 97 regular season wins. Right now, Martinez’s squad has a winning percentage more than 100 points lower than Baker’s last year. They’re on pace to go 80-82, which would be their first sub-.500 season since 2011.

Baker has always had an undeserved bad rap. He was, correctly, blamed for the Cubs’ demise, due somewhat to Kerry Wood and Mark Prior falling apart, ostensibly from overuse. However, after his stint in Chicago, Baker took the lowly Reds from the bottom of the NL Central to the top in two years between 2008-10. Then he took the Nationals, which had won a meager 83 games in 2015 and had made the playoffs just twice since moving from Montreal, to two consecutive NLDS Game 5’s.

Not much changed from 2017 to ’18. Martinez inherited Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Michael Taylor, Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy, Matt Wieters, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler, Shawn Kelley, and Koda Glover, among others. But for one reason or another — injuries, admittedly, make up one reason — almost all of these players are having worse years under Martinez than under Baker. Describing the 2018 team to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Baker said, “They’re together, but they’re separate.”

Is it strictly Baker that would make the difference? No, of course not. But the Nationals organization seems unwilling or unable to address issues that may extend into the front office. The Nats seem happy to go through a new manager every couple of years and hope that fixes all that ails them. Since Frank Robinson’s five years at the helm from 2002-06, Manny Acta managed two and a half years, Jim Riggleman one and a half, Davey Johnson two, Matt Williams two, Baker two. Maybe the problem was never the manager. Perhaps the problem is the Lerner family and Mike Rizzo.