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Buster Posey: First Baseman?

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Days after Giants catcher broke his leg and ankle in a home plate collision last May, many predicted that the Giants may choose to play him at first base a few times per week to keep his bat in the lineup and some even considered moving him there full time.

Yesterday morning, Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly from the San Jose Mercury News reported that the Giants may consider playing Buster Posey at first base at least once a week this season, and possibly more.

Here is more from Baggarly:

That's why manager Bruce Bochy and G.M. Brian Sabean already are talking about playing Posey at first base at least once a week, and possibly more, to keep his bat in the lineup. They don't expect to have a gauge on his durability as a catcher until the end of the spring.

Posey acknowledged he is not 100 percent and that the ankle is stiff when he rolls out of bed in the morning. At the same time, he said, all his rehab goals have been met or exceeded. He was encouraged by the way he felt while hitting on the field in Arizona and blocking balls when he tried a few drills in November.

I have been down on Posey this offseason mainly due to worries about how he will return from the broken leg and ankle injuries. But the fact that his ankle is not 100% right now and is stiff when he gets up every day, how is it going to feel after he catches a game for nine innings? I am not an expert on injuries, but this does not sound good.

More on Posey after the jump:

Posey was hitting .284-.368-.389 with 4 HRs, 21 RBI and 17 runs scored in 45 games before the injury last May, and his power numbers were down considerably from his rookie season. His ISO was down to .105 from .200 in 2010, and his SLG was down from .505 to .389 as well, so I wonder if the power ceiling will be limited in 2012. His power dropped last year when his leg and ankle was healthy, and now we are hearing that he is still not fully recovered, so his value will begin to drop in mock drafts, I imagine.

As of last night, his ADP over at Mock Draft Central was 59.45 and he was the 4th catcher drafted, just ahead of Twins catcher Joe Mauer, Matt Wieters and Miguel Montero. I am shocked that Posey and Mauer are being drafted ahead of Matt Wieters and Miguel Montero. Both will outperform Mauer and Posey in 2012.

Should Posey play some first base this season, he will take at bats away from Aubrey Huff and Brandon Belt. It is assumed that Belt will begin the season in AAA, so Huff will see the biggest drop in at bats should Posey not be ready to catch every day.

On days Posey play first base, back up catchers Eli Whiteside or Hector Sanchez will start at catcher, so one of them will get more at bats in 2012. With the Giants struggling to score runs, Sanchez might get the nod more often than not, as he has the better bat than Whiteside.

Looking long term, Posey loses value if the move to first base is permanent, but that won't impact owners in 2012, as he is catcher eligible in 2012 drafts.