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Should the San Francisco Giants Move Buster Posey to First Base?

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Buster Posey is the San Francisco Giants' most indispensable player. He also happens to play a position that takes a tremendous physical toll on a player's body.

See the problem?

The topic of Posey switching positions has been a hot one amongst Giants fans and media ever since he suffered a gruesome leg injury that cost him all of the 2011 season. Some argue that Posey would be better off playing first base, a position that isn't as physically demanding as catcher. Others argue that Posey is too valuable as a catcher to move him anywhere else.

So what should the Giants do with the face of their franchise?

For the time being, the best answer is to leave Posey at catcher. Here's why:

Brandon Belt: If Posey moves to first, what happens to Belt? Belt has played left field for a few games, but it's clear he's not comfortable there. He happens to be an above-average defensive first baseman, too. So why would the Giants want to force two of their most important hitters to learn new positions? It seems counterproductive to move Belt, who showed signs last year of becoming the middle-of-the-order hitter the Giants would like him to be, and possibly stunt his growth at the plate. It's not as if the Giants have no long-term answer at first base and Posey would fill a void there; rather, Belt is one of their young core hitters and moving him out of position would make little sense.

Posey's value isn't as high as a first baseman: The offensive output that makes Posey arguably the most valuable catcher in baseball would make him just an average first baseman. There aren't many catchers in the game who produce like Posey does at the plate, making him a valuable commodity. Posey's value to the Giants' pitching staff also can't be discounted. He calls a strong game, is a good ball blocker, and has been instrumental in the huge successes Giants pitchers have enjoyed over the past four seasons. Posey is just too valuable to the Giants as a catcher in too many ways to consider moving him.

Catchers are better protected now: Major League Baseball passed new rules this offseason in an effort to better protect catchers, effectively banning home-plate collisions while barring catchers from blocking the plate; they could have just named it the "Buster Posey Rule" and called it a day. Whatever it's called, Posey's health will benefit from the rule and the chances of him being run over at the plate again are slim. There should be less of an urgency to get Posey out from behind the plate if there's little chance of him suffering another catastrophic injury there.

Hector Sanchez might prove to be a valuable trade chip: Sanchez has shown flashes at the plate and while his defense still needs work, he's still good enough to start for more than a few teams in the majors. He'd likely command a nice return should the Giants make him available in a trade, and that could come in handy at the deadline if the Giants are in contention and want to add another piece (like, say, in left field).

Eventually, the Giants may find it prudent to find another position for Posey in order to save his legs and prolong his career; now is not the time, however.

Posey is simply too valuable as a catcher, and the domino effect of moving him would be too worrisome for the Giants to play him anywhere else.

Dave Tobener is a San Francisco Bay Area-based writer whose work on baseball has appeared on sites such as Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Sports' Big League Stew. Follow him on Twitter @gggiants.

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