Posted on August 25, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The 2018 season is almost over for San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. The club announced Friday night that Posey will undergo season-ending surgery on his hip Monday. The surgery has a recovery time of six to eight months. That timeline casts some doubt on whether Posey will be ready for opening day in 2019. But after a down season, at least by his standards, there’s no reason to delay the inevitable.
The 31-year old catcher has been bothered by the hip problem most of the season. He would have continued to play through the issue if the Giants were in postseason contention. However, with the Giants quickly fading from the playoff picture, the time has come for Posey to get the surgery to increase the chances he’ll be ready for the start of the 2019 season. San Francisco is currently four games under .500 and nine games out of a playoff spot. Hope for a playoff birth is all but lost.
“You don’t want to say you’re out of it until you’re out of it,” Posey said of the team’s playoff hopes. “But unfortunately, where we are, I think it makes the most sense to get this taken care of.”
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Posey was an all-star this season for the fourth consecutive year and the sixth time in his career. However, it’s impossible to deny that his offensive production has declined from past seasons. He’s currently hitting .284 with just five home runs and an OPS of .741. Other than 2011 when Posey’s season was ended by a broken leg in late May, this is easily the worst offensive season of his career.
According to Posey, the typical grind of being an everyday catcher has led to his hip problems, including a bone spur on his right side. He’s hoping the surgery will help to improve the “range in your hip that’s pretty vital for hitting.” If Posey can still hit .284 without the full range of motion in his hips, a healthy Posey could have a few more productive seasons in the big leagues, even on the other side of 30. He’s under contract for three more years with a $22 million option for the 2022 season, giving the Giants plenty of incentive to get him back to full health.
At the moment, Posey is optimistic that he’ll be ready for the start of next season. If his recovery lasts six months, he should only miss the early part of spring training next season. Posey would then have enough time to get ready for opening day at the end of March. However, if his recovery is closer to eight months, he’ll likely miss the early part of the 2019 season.
“If things go smoothly with no hiccups, I’ll be ready to go next Opening Day,” says Posey.
The Giants will likely use the rest of the season without Posey to get a look at prospect Aramis Garcia. The 25-year old backstop has not had a great offensive season at double-A and triple-A. But he’s developed into a solid defensive option behind the plate. If Posey misses the early part of the 2019 season or needs more off days moving forward, Garcia could play an important role for the Giants in the years to come.