The Phillies’ Domonic Brown had a breakthrough season at age 25, finishing tied for fourth in the NL with 27 homers and appearing in the All-Star Game. That would seem to make him a centerpiece player, right?
The big problem with Brown is that his defense is truly hideous in left field. UZR rated him 58th of the 62 outfielders to play at least 900 innings last season, and the eye test suggest his defensive stats aren’t very far off the mark. He’s not so bad that he has to become a DH immediately, but he does give away a fair amount of that offensive value with his glovework.
And that’s why the Phillies are open to moving him. For one thing, they have a very similar replacement available in Darin Ruf; he can offer similar power, though from the opposite side of the plate, and similarly bad defense. He also wouldn’t have the same kind of trade value as Brown. Brown might be able to fetch Chris Tillman from the Orioles or James Paxton or Erasmo Ramirez, plus a second prospect, from the Mariners. Ruf probably wouldn’t bring a legitimate starting pitcher back by himself.
San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey has opted out of the 2020 MLB season. The Giants have issued a statement saying that they “fully support Buster’s decision. Buster is an integral part of our team and will be sorely missed, but we look forward to having him back in 2021.”
Posey and his wife are adopting identical twin girls who were born prematurely and who are currently in the NICU and will be for some time. They are stable, but obviously theirs is not a situation that would be amenable to the demands of a baseball season as it’s currently structured. Recently Posey said, “I think there’s still some reservation on my end as well. I think I want to see kind of how things progress here over the next couple of weeks. I think it would be a little bit maybe naive or silly not to gauge what’s going on around you, not only around you here but paying attention to what’s happening in the country and different parts of the country.” He said that he talked about playing with his wife quite a great deal but, really, this seems like a no-brainer decision on his part.
In opting out Posey is foregoing the 60-game proration of his $21.4 million salary. He is under contract for one more year at $21.4 million as well. The Giants can pick up his 2022 club option for $22 million or buy him out for $3 million.
A veteran of 11 seasons, Posey has earned about $124 million to date. Which seems to be the common denominator with players who have opted out thus far. With the exception of Joe Ross and Héctor Noesí, the players to have opted out thus far have earned well above $10 million during their careers. Players that aren’t considered “high risk” and elect not to play do not get paid and do not receive service time.