Buster Posey gets $167M, 9-year deal from Giants

At age 26, Buster Posey can envision one day retiring with the
San Francisco Giants.

For now, he is their new franchise man.

The Giants rewarded the NL MVP and batting champion catcher with
a $167 million, nine-year contract Friday, a deal that includes a
club option for 2022 that could raise the value to $186 million
over a decade.

”It’s hard to put into words what I feel right now, just an
incredible feeling know that for the next nine years I’ll be a part
of this very storied franchise,” Posey said. ”I’m incredibly
humbled to know I’ll be a part of that.”

He came to the plate Friday night to rousing cheers from the
sellout crowd of 42,808 and led off the second inning against
Oakland’s A. J. Griffin with a single to left. Posey finished 2 for
4 in the 3-1 win.

”That’s just great, he’s the face of the franchise,” pitcher
Barry Zito said. ”He’s the captain of this team as young as he is.
That’s a huge nod from ownership, from the Giants, to say, `Pose,
you’re our guy and we’re going to go on with you.”’

Posey had been due to make $8 million this year. He instead gets
a $7 million signing bonus, with $5 million payable Oct. 15 and the
remainder Jan. 15, and his 2013 salary is reduced to $3
million.

He will make $10.5 million in 2014, $16.5 million in 2015, $20
million in 2016 and $21.4 million in each of the following five
seasons. The Giants’ option is for $22 million with a $3 million
buyout.

”Obviously this is a big day for the Giants and a big day in
Giants history,” CEO Larry Baer said. ”By any measure the largest
and boldest commitment we’ve ever made to a player, and obviously
that’s a big deal. We don’t make these kinds of commitments
lightly. … In order to make a commitment like this we have to
look at other measures, too, and look at the person. A nine-year
commitment sounds like a lot but it wasn’t scary to us when you
look at Buster the person.”

Posey’s agreement includes a full no-trade clause and is the
longest for a catcher and the largest in Giants history, surpassing
Matt Cain’s $127.5 million, six-year contract signed before the
start of last season.

In addition, the deal is a record guarantee for a player with
fewer than three years of major league service time – more than
doubling the $80 million, seven-year contract Rockies slugger
Carlos Gonzalez received before the 2011 season. It also is a
record guarantee for a player with fewer than four years of service
time, topping the $151.45 million over 11 years Colorado’s Todd
Helton was assured in March 2001.

”I don’t know if we had a mountain to climb but we had a hill
to climb to try to get on the same page,” general manager Brian
Sabean said. ”If he’s not the face of the franchise, he’s
certainly a player that comes around either once every baseball
life or not that often.”

The Giants captured their second championship in three years
behind the play of the All-Star, who won the NL batting title and
MVP award after missing most of 2011 following season-ending left
leg and ankle injuries.

Posey knows that there will be times things don’t go as well as
they have so far for him with a World Series and Rookie of the Year
award in 2010 followed by another title and season of honors last
year.

”You get kind of spoiled when you win the World Series in your
first year,” he said. ”I can’t see how you can play here and not
want to spend your career here.”

Posey received his deal a day after the Giants gave Sabean and
manager Bruce Bochy contract extensions through 2016.

Posey batted .336 with 24 homers and 103 RBIs while playing 148
games for the NL West champions, including 111 starts at catcher
and 29 at first base. During the Giants’ 2010 and ’12 championship
runs, Posey has hit a combined .244 with four home runs and 14
RBIs.

Two of those homers and five RBIs came in last year’s NL
division series against the Reds, when San Francisco became the
first team in big league history to rally from a 2-0 deficit to win
a five-game series with three straight road victories.

”We’ve got a group of guys who are not going to rest on what
we’ve accomplished so far,” Posey said. ”Nine years is a long
time. It’s exciting. I enjoy the challenge of trying to get better.
I enjoy the ups and downs that baseball brings.”

On May 25, 2011, Posey tore three ligaments in his left ankle
and broke a bone in his lower leg in a devastating collision at the
plate with Scott Cousins, then with the Marlins.

Posey received his nice payday two days after turning 26. He
will donate $50,000 per year to Giants charities.

He could wind up playing his entire career in the Bay Area – and
the Giants certainly hope that will be the case. The club posted a
photo on its Twitter account Friday of Posey, Baer, Sabean, vice
president and assistant general manager Bobby Evans and Bochy –
with the hashtag ”SFG4Life.”

”It’s truly one of the great days for Giants fans,” Baer said.
”Our fans will be very privileged to watch Buster for the
foreseeable future, and ideally Buster will be wearing a Giants
uniform for the entirety of his career, which is our goal.”

Posey is represented by the same agency that negotiated Cain’s
deal last year, and both sides were eager to do something again
this year to provide long-term security for the catcher.

”We’re extremely pleased to reach an agreement that keeps
Buster in a Giants uniform for a long time,” agent Jeff Berry of
CAA Baseball said. ”Buster and the Giants have brought each other
mutual success, and this contract reflects Buster’s extraordinary
accomplishments in just three years in the major leagues.”

The contract includes the following bonuses: $100,000 for NL
MVP, $100,000 for World Series MVP, $75,000 for NL championship
series MVP, $50,000 for a Gold Glove, $50,000 for All-Star game
election, $25,000 for All-Star selection and $50,000 for a Silver
Slugger.

In 2010, Posey wasn’t even called up from Triple-A Fresno until
late May but still batted .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs in 108
games to help the Giants capture their first NL West crown since
2003.

Even with the injury, Posey plans to catch for as long as his
body allows it.

”My passion is to be behind the plate for as long as I can,”
he said. ”For anyone who’s caught, it’s a special position you
can’t describe until you get back there.”

Yet he did once play all nine positions in one game during
college.

San Francisco gave him $6.2 million when he signed in August
2008 as the fifth overall pick out of Florida State, the richest
deal for an amateur joining the Giants.

For Evans in his negotiations, there weren’t many players to use
as a gauge for having so many accomplishments in such a short
career. The Giants entered talks with the idea they would find a
way to sign Posey for the long haul.

”The organization will be better off for it each day he’s in
our uniform,” Sabean said.

AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.