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Giants’ Buster Posey to retire, per report

The likely Future Hall of Famer will call it a career.

MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants Photo by Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Giants catcher Buster Posey is set to announce his retirement Thursday, as The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly reported late Wednesday afternoon:

Posey’s retirement isn’t the most surprising development in the world, as he has a long history of injuries, opted out of the 2020 season to spend more time with his young family during the COVID-19 pandemic, and was hesitant to commit to playing in 2022 when the subject was broached with media members. But he goes out as one of the best catchers in the game — he posted an extremely good .304/.390/.499 slash line with 18 homers in 2021 and was a solid defender behind the plate.

The 34-year-old Posey was very arguably the Giants’ best position player for each of their three World Series victories in 2010, 2012, and 2014. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2010 and the NL MVP in 2012. He also won a Gold Glove in 2016 — an incredible achievement, considering that he ended a eight-year Gold Glove streak by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina — and was a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He has a good chance to win another Silver Slugger this year and was named a finalist for the award last month.

Posey retires with a career .302/.372/.460 slash line and 158 homers. Though he played just 10 full seasons, missing most of 2011 after a horrific leg injury and opting out last year, Posey was one of the most impactful catchers of his generation. The only two catchers ahead of him in Jay Jaffe’s JAWS rankings who aren’t in the Hall of Fame are Thurman Munson and Gene Tenace, and despite his relatively short career, Posey has a good case to be inducted into Cooperstown.

The Giants have been grooming Joey Bart, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, as Posey’s eventual replacement, but he played in just two major league games this season and posted a relatively unimpressive 107 wRC+ with Triple-A Sacramento while dealing with a series of injuries. With a deep farm system, it’s possible that the Giants will pursue a veteran catcher via trade to replace Posey. And after Curt Casali provided a strong defensive presence in 2021 — Giants pitchers threw for a 2.72 ERA when he was behind the plate — he’ll likely return as the backup or a platoon option in 2022.