What was already going to be a strange season for San Francisco Giants fans will now look even more unfamiliar after the team’s catcher and face of the franchise, Buster Posey, announced on Friday that he will not take part in the 2020 season.
Posey previously stated that he was undecided if he would participate, but made his decision not to play official on Friday morning, announcing that he and his wife, Kristen, had adopted twin girls and that his decision was made with their health in mind.
“The twins were born prematurely. Thank god they’re doing well, but they’re gonna to have to be in the NICU for quite some time,” he said. “ My wife, myself and our older children are just overwhelmed with joy to welcome them into our family and love them unconditionally.”
The 2010 National League Rookie of the Year and six-time All-Star was immediately met with support from both first-year manager Gabe Kapler and President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi.
“I think Buster is making an incredible and thoughtful decision for his family,” Kapler explained.
Zaidi, who was joined on the Zoom call by his 1-year-old son, held up a whiteboard reading “We love you Buster,” which was accompanied by a message asking for Posey to sign his son’s jersey.
In Posey’s absence, a position that was already thin for the Giants now becomes a complete unknown. Aramis Garcia, who would have served in a backup role under normal circumstances, will be out until at least mid-August after undergoing hip surgery. Last year’s backup, Stephen Vogt, is now a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. That leaves journeyman Rob Brantly and Tyler Heineman, who made his Major League debut last year, as the main in-house options.
Posey’s decision not to play this year could also open the door for Joey Bart, the second overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, to make his debut at some point during the shortened 60-game season. Bart spent 2019 between High-A San Jose and Double-A Richmond, though he missed over two months with a broken hand he suffered when he was hit by a pitch in April.
With Kapler in his first year as manager, a shortened 60-game schedule necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and empty stadiums to be populated with cardboard cutouts of fans, baseball in San Francisco may be all but unrecognizable over the coming months.