Posey said he tried to keep his arm in shape by firing balled up diapers at his 9-year-old son, Lee. He managed to log plenty of reps, as he and his wife, Kristen, adopted twin baby girls, Ada and Livvi, in July. Ada and Livvi were born eight weeks premature, which factored heavily into Posey’s decision to sit out the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.
“You have to really make sure that you have the right weight of the diapers,” Posey said after Giants pitchers and catchers completed their first workout of the spring on Wednesday. “So, depending on how well they’ve been feeding, that plays a lot into my accuracy, and if it’s equivalent to the weight of a baseball … yeah, I’ve been pretty accurate.”
Overseeing remote learning for Lee and Addy, his eldest daughter, and caring for Ada and Livvi kept Posey quite busy during his hiatus from baseball. But he still kept close tabs on the Giants, tuning in to watch each of their games in 2020, when they went 29-31 and fell only one win short of the playoffs.
When Posey rejoined the team for the first time in seven months on Wednesday, he experienced a new appreciation for the mundane activities that he grew to miss while he was away.
“It was definitely good to be back out there,” Posey said. “I just think you appreciate the little things — just playing catch, hitting in the cage, and obviously, the camaraderie as well.”
Posey admitted that it has crossed his mind that he could be entering his final Spring Training with the Giants, who drafted him with the fifth overall pick in 2008 out of Florida State. This season will mark the final guaranteed year of his contract with San Francisco, creating uncertainty about his future with the club that developed him into a three-time World Series champion, a National League MVP and a six-time All-Star.
“Sure, it’s gone through my mind,” said Posey, whose contract includes a $22 million team option for 2022. “My biggest goal this year is to really just go — as cliche as it is — just go one day at a time and try to focus on what needs to be accomplished for that day, whether it’s stuff in the weight room or cage work or extra catching or whatever it may be. I try not to get too far ahead.”
Posey will turn 34 next month, but he said he feels good physically after focusing on improving his conditioning over the offseason. Manager Gabe Kapler has noted that Posey appears to have bulked up over the winter, creating optimism that he’ll be able to rebound from a career-worst offensive season in 2019.
Regardless of his production with the bat, Posey will bring much-needed stability behind the plate and will help guide a pitching staff that is expected to include three new starters in Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood and Aaron Sanchez. The Giants sorely missed Posey’s leadership in 2020, when they were forced to rely on the inexperienced tandem of Joey Bart and Chadwick Tromp.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that it was an area that we struggled in a little bit at times last year,” Kapler said. “Knowing that we’re going to have that solidifying force in Buster, both behind the plate and at the plate, is incredibly encouraging.”
The return of Posey also gives the Giants confidence that they’ll be able to surprise in a top-heavy National League West that features two teams with championship aspirations in the Dodgers and Padres.
“Great teams, a lot of talent on both those teams, but it’s the big leagues — every team is loaded with talented players from all over the world,” Posey said. “That’s the great thing about sports — nothing’s guaranteed. As much as I think the sports world loves to try to predict everything, there are still some parts of it that can’t be predicted. I think you go into it with the attitude of going out there trying to finish at the top of the division. I think that has to be the goal. I think the effort level or even the focus at times might suffer if you don’t have that mindset.”