Could third base be in Buster Posey's future?


Could third base be in Buster Posey's future?

LOS ANGELES Giants manager Bruce Bochy made an interestingcomment when discussing Buster Poseys athleticism and his above average defense at first base despite little experience.

I think he could play third, Bochy said. Thats howathletic I think he is.

File away that thought. Its not the first time Ive heardit, either. Bochy isnt alone among scouts and baseball officials, some within the Giants organization, who believePosey would have enough range, reaction skills and certainly enough armstrength to be a solid third baseman. That might be a handy option to keep inmind in future seasons if fitness remains an issue for Pablo Sandoval.

But thats a discussion to pick up again at the wintermeetings. For now, the important information is this: The crick in the neckthat Posey felt in the eighth inning Monday night wasnt serious enough to keephim out of Tuesdays lineup.

Posey is batting cleanup and playing first base against theLos Angeles Dodgers.

Bochy said he planned to watch Poseycarefully in batting practice, and if his cleanup hitter felt anything, theteam would scratch him. So far, so good.

Posey felt a twinge Monday night when he hit the first basebag while making a safe call with his arms. So perhaps his days providinghelpful pantomime to umpires are at an end.

Bochy didnt say it outright, but he made it sound as if Posey originally would have caught Barry Zito a signthat they would form a battery in a potential playoff start. Hector Sanchez hasbeen Zitos personal catcher for most of the season.

Zito and Posey, sure, no problem, Bochy said. And if Ifeel its necessary, hell catch Timmy (Lincecum).

The manager quickly followed by saying that Hector Sanchez morethan likely would catch Lincecum, though.

Bochy dropped one other hint about his postseason rotation,saying Zito wouldnt be on the same 75-pitch limit that the club imposed on Matt Cain a nightearlier. Cain will start Game 1 on Saturday on regular rest. The fact Zito wontbe limited in his final regular-season start suggests strongly that he would not bethe choice to start Game 2 on Sunday.

Bochy still isnt ready to announce the Game 2 starter, butthe expectation is that itll be Madison Bumgarner followed by Lincecum in Game3. If the Giants face elimination entering Game 4, the Giants could bring backCain on short rest. Or they could hand the ball to Zito. That would leave RyanVogelsong, who has more relief experience, as the choice to back up bothLincecum and Zito (even Cain, too) if they get into early trouble. With Lincecum and Zito especially, you can usually tell within the first dozen pitches whether they're on or not.

What they're saying: 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class

What they're saying: 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class

The National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez Wednesday. Here's what they and their peers are saying.

Still on outside, Bonds, Clemens have become invaluable to Hall

Still on outside, Bonds, Clemens have become invaluable to Hall

The Baseball Hall of Fame becomes yesterday’s news Friday, as it always does. Three months of buildup, one day to announce the names, one day to castigate the voters for their willfully negligent slights, and then nine months of hibernation.

So much for the concept of “joining the immortals.”

But at least Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez never have to go through this annual pageant of nonsense again.

Barry Bonds does, though, and so does Roger Clemens, and to a lesser extent, so does Curt Schilling. They are the new litmus strips for the Hall, and they will more than replace Raines (voter ignorance division) and Bagwell (presumption of guilt with evidence division) for self-involved debate.

And in that adjusted role from doomed outsiders to serious candidates, Bonds and Clemens – and to a lesser extent again, Schilling – have become invaluable to the Hall, and their eventual election and induction will reduce the Hall’s ability to inflame passions outside the seamhead community.

On a day when Bagwell and Raines finally cleared the 75 percent threshold and Bonds and Clemens moved from 45 percent to 53.8 and 54.1 percent, respectively, the Hall of Fame Debating And Chowder Society saw the end times for its power as a multi-month debate-churner.

The blatherers are dead, long live the blatherers.

An entire mini-industry of Hall watchers has been spawned, in part by the now-feted Ryan Thibodaux and his exit polling but also by the debates about what the Hall should be and who should get to decide it. It has made days like Wednesday event viewing when it hadn’t been for years. For that, the Hall owes Bonds and Clemens a debt that the powers inside Major League Baseball wishes it didn’t have to pay. But the day they are inducted is the day that PEDs die as a debating point. The answer will have been provided, and there will be no more need for discussion.

Worse yet, the BBWAA’S new voter transparency rules may unfortunately impact our pal Thibodaux, whose seminal work in this understudied area of social science undermined ballot secrecy. In short, if everyone has to fess up, the desperate need to know early returns may dry up.

Oh, there will always be the day of post mortem-ization, as those who didn’t clear the threshold are subject to a few rounds of the popular parlor game, “Who Got Snubbed, And The Tedious And Half-Informed Reasons Why.”

For instance, the big debating point from today’s results will not be about Raines and Guerrero getting in, but what happened to the Bonds and Clemens votes. People have already postulated that a lot of the jump in their respective votes can be directly linked to Bud Selig’s election from the Veterans Committee. Voters who had previously ridden the Hall-as-temple argument suddenly lost their raison d’etre and realized that the PED problem was an industry matter rather than a greedy players’ matter.

In short, they saw Selig getting in as tacit approval that the PED issue was no longer a moral one in baseball but a cynical one, a way to blame labor for management’s culpability. That is an irony whose existence Selig will almost surely deny, but it’s there anyway, and it represents one more non-glacial change in a system that has been nearly immovable for most of its existence.

The next change, of course, may be removing the vote from the BBWAA and turning it over to a more malleable panel of “experts” who may not skew as young and values-neutral as the BBWAA of the future seems to be heading. That course may be hastened if/when Bonds and Clemens are elected, because halls of fame in their more traditional role have been more about rewarding friends and punishing enemies, and a large and shifting electorate makes that harder to accomplish.

The argument against such a course, though, is that the current system of three months of fevered public debate about the same old stuff works for the Hall’s sense of its importance. I mean, MLB Network and its fetish for shrill argument only has so much reach.

By Friday, though, all of this will revert to its typically inert state. Bonds, Clemens (ATALE Schilling), PEDs, morality, practicality, secrecy, old voter/young voter – all of it will fade back into insignificance.

And in a year or two or maybe three, Bonds and Clemens will wipe it all out by being included in the one club that we once knew would never tolerate their presence, and the Hall Of Fame’s Golden Age Of Shrieking Argument will end.

In a weird and largely unpleasant way, it will be missed.