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The heart and soul of the San Francisco Giants is ready to call it a career. Catcher Buster Posey will reportedly announce his retirement Thursday, ending a fantastic 12-year run with the franchise, according to The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly.
Posey, 34, returned for the 2021 MLB season after opting out in 2020. He experienced a resurgence at the plate, hitting .304/.390/.499, with 18 home runs, over 454 plate appearances. That performance resulted in Posey making the National League All-Star team for the first time since 2018.
In his final season, Posey played a key role in the Giants' surprising run to the playoffs. After posting a .483 winning percentage without Posey in 2020, the team soared to a .660 winning percentage in 2021, toppling the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the National League West. The Giants could not advance past the Dodgers in the postseason, however, losing to their rivals in five games during the National League Division Series.
Posey has a club option for the 2022 season worth $22 million. Given his production on the field, and what he means to the Giants, there was a strong chance the team would have picked up that option and used Posey for at least another year.
Buster Posey headed to Baseball Hall of Fame
If this is truly it, Posey walks away from the game as one of the greatest catchers of all time. He owns a career .302/.372/.460 slash line over 12 seasons in the majors. His production came in an era where superstar catchers were exceedingly rare. Since Posey's rookie season in 2009, the catcher position hit just .242/.311/.389.
Posey was excellent from the start, taking home the Rookie of the Year award in his first full season in the majors. He was elected to the All-Star team seven times, won a batting title, a Gold Glove, four Silver Sluggers and was named the National League MVP in 2012.
Posey also won three World Series rings with the Giants, in 2010, 2012 and 2014. He was one of nine players to be with the team for all three of those championships, and outlasted all of them.
Over that period, Posey came to define the current era of Giants' baseball. His best seasons came during the team's dynasty, and he remained a fantastic player late in his career. Injuries became an issue as he aged, though a year away from the game allowed Posey to post one more superstar-caliber year before leaving the game for good.
The impending retirement would put Posey up for Hall of Fame induction following the 2027 MLB season. The Hall of Fame has been notoriously tough on catchers, but the landscape is changing. St. Louis Cardinals great Ted Simmons was inducted by one of the Baseball Hall of Fame's Era Committees. Minnesota Twins great Joe Mauer will be eligible in 2024, and has a strong case for induction.
By bWAR, Posey is the 14th-best catcher of all time. The only players ahead of him on that list not currently in the Hall of Fame are Mauer, Thurman Munson and Gene Tenace. Seven catchers with lower bWAR totals than Posey are already in the Hall of Fame.
Given his production behind the plate — especially in the era in which Posey played — and his numerous awards and postseason excellence, Posey is worthy of the Baseball Hall of Fame as soon as he's eligible.