We no longer have to watch Buster Posey hit weak grounders and lazy flyballs anymore. This Monday afternoon, the six-time All-Star underwent surgery to address an impingement in his right hip and repair a torn labrum.
Honestly, it was so sad watching the face of the franchise hit a paltry five homers, slumping his way to a career low in on-base and slugging percentage (throw his 17 at-bats in 2009 away), that it’s spurred me to ask a question that’ll be thrown around over the next couple decades: is Buster Posey a Hall of Famer?
As of now, the answer is a resounding “no.” Some fans may feel differently. Some strongly believe he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Others think he’s overrated.
Posey can retire tomorrow, knowing that his No. 28 jersey will never be worn again by a Giant. But is he a lock to be hailed as one of the game’s greats? Is his resumé, say, sexy enough? I believe he has to put in more work, and right now, Posey is trending the wrong way.
In the second half of the last three seasons, his power numbers have drastically dropped, and sure, sitting in the squat hasn’t helped, but the decline in Posey’s production has been alarming.
Taking away 2009 and 2011 — when his season was cut to 45 games due to a fractured fibula and ligament damage he suffered in a collision at home plate with Scott Cousins — and Posey has put up very good offensive numbers for a catcher, with an average season hitting .307 with 16 home runs and 76 RBI, a .376 on-base percentage, 467 slugging and a .842 OPS. He’s certainly lived up to the hype he had coming out of Florida State, and won the first National League batting title by a catcher in seven decades when he hit .336 in 2012.
Add in the three World Series championships, a National League Most Valuable Player award, a Gold Glove, the All-Star games — all the well-deserved hardware — and Posey is a bonafide legend in the Bay Area. But the Hall of Fame? Not if New York Yankee legends Jorge Posada and Thurman Munson aren’t in, and Yadier Molina –who has arguably been better at the catcher position, and is arguably one of the best defensive catchers in the history of the game — is on the fence.
Posey simply needs to do more offensively over the remainder of his career. Who knows how he responds to this surgery, one that may keep him out as late as May of 2019, when he’ll be 32 years of age.
What if Posey continues to sputter at the plate and turns into Joe Mauer 2.0? Are his credentials Hall of Fame-worthy?
With $62 million owed to Posey over the next three years, including a club option for another $22 million in 2022, the Giants depend on Posey to play like, well, a Hall of Famer, which of course is tough to ask of a player who’s given every ounce of effort to this franchise.
He was hailed as the next Johnny Bench, but despite the accolades and the titles, as of now, Posey isn’t Hall of Fame-worthy. That doesn’t take anything away from his career. Posey is a guy who’ll forever eat for free in the Bay Area due to his contributions on and off the diamond.
Posey needs another three good seasons to one day to deliver a Hall of Fame speech in Cooperstown. Hopefully, he won’t have another season like 2018.
ay leapfrogs baseball and football? Time will tell.
Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from noon to 3 p.m. on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.