AT&T Park — Just days before they begin defense of their World Series crown, the San Francisco Giants have locked up the core of this dynasty.
On Thursday night, the brain trust — Manager Bruce Bochy and General Manager Brian Sabean — got new deals through 2016.
Now the heart of the team, Buster Posey, is signing his name to a long-term pact.
The Giants announced they have agreed to an nine-year, $167 million extension through 2021 with their catcher. The deal buys out Posey’s arbitration years — which were to start after the upcoming season — and his first five free agency years.
The contract, announced at the Giants Play Ball Luncheon, includes Posey’s 2013 salary of $8 million and is the largest contract ever tendered by the Giants.
Giants catcher Buster Posey
“You get kind of spoiled when you win the World Series in your first year. These fans and just the Giants community, I don’t see how you can play here and not want to spend your career here — a good example is last night in an exhibition game, we had a packed stadium. It just goes to show you the love these fans here have not only for Giants baseball but I think for baseball in general.”
The Giants franchise has been around for 130 years and in that time, only a handful of catchers emerged as all-time greats of the game. They include Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk and Thurman Munson.
In 308 major league games over four seasons, Posey has two World Series rings, was an All-Star and NL MVP in 2012, and was the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year. He’s hit .314 over his short career, with 46 home runs and 191 RBI.
Bochy himself was a catcher for his career and has been saying for years that Posey is the Johnny Bench of his generation:
Giants manager Bruce Bochy
“I think you’d have to say that with what he’s accomplished already. It always comes down to longevity. Johnny Bench hit fourth in the lineup and (the Reds) to some World Series there and Buster’s done it here and so it’s going to be nice as we get down the road to actually compare these things. He’s one of the elite players in the game and he takes care of himself. We’re going to see the same production for years to come and a guy that we will be talking about as one of the best players behind the plate.”
The deal continues a recent trend by the Giants of locking up their most important young players. The offseason prior to last season saw Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Pablo Sandoval ink new deals. Sandoval is a free agent after 2014, with Cain and Bumgarner signed through at least 2017.
Giants general manager Brian Sabean
“If he’s not the face of the franchise, he’s certainly a player that comes around either once in a baseball life. He’s a special player and a special person. Our organization really turned on a dime when this fellow came to the big leagues. So a lot to be thankful for, a lot to be proud of. Buster, you deserve this.”