KANSAS CITY -- The story of Buster Poseys baseball career is one that is still being written. But already, it reads like a classic novel.It has the perfect protagonist. Posey, the very portrait of class and professionalism. A hero to so many in every sense of the word.It has the dramatic plot ... with the emotional highs of a Rookie of the Year award on the heels of a World Series title, to the mental and physical struggles of coping and returning from a season-ending injury.Will it have a storybook ending too? That chapter is likely years away from unfolding, but so far, its looking pretty good. As Posey makes his first All Star appearance, here is what his teammates and other players around the league are saying about his amazing story:Pablo Sandoval: "I'm happy for him, you know, hes been through a lot of things, his ankle surgery he missed the whole season last year. You know, to get back the way he got back is tough, he deserves to be here, he's a great player and a great hitter. I'm happy to see my teammate, not for one year and couple years ago. So, I've been playing with him, know him very well, so he's a great guy, such a great teammate, so I'm happy for him to be here" Matt Cain: "Yeah,that's pretty cool i mean its amazing to see how quick he's turned around from such a extreme injury last year and to turn around and go through mental grind of getting healthy, getting his body back healthy, to turn around and put up what he's done already the first half is..it shows what kind of a player he is and what kind hes going to be for his career." As manager Bob Melvin: "He's a premiere position behind the plate and to be an offensive guy like that, you don't see too many guys that can handle both ends of it. Behind the plate he's a terrific defender and throws very well and a middle-of-the-order hitter from the catcher spot, which doesn't happen very often so all the accolades he gets he deserves" Joe Mauer: It's really nice to see from afar. I don't know Buster that well, he seems like a great guy and a hard working player. I guess you have to be to be that good. But to have that injury and come back from that and be at an all-star game it's pretty impressive, and I look forward to talking to him a little bit. And finally, Posey himself: It's definitely special, I was just anxious to be back and competing at the major league level, and you know this is kind of icing on the cake. It's sometimes kind of hard to believe that I'm here.
SAN FRANCISCO — The kid who raced The Freeze on Thursday night blew a tire as he hit center field, hobbled for about 50 feet, and then went down for good. He still had a better night than the Giants.
They blew all four tires in the fifth, giving up eight runs in a nightmare frame that turned a two-run lead into a 12-11 loss. The Giants finished 1-7 on the swing through Denver and Atlanta, and they have lost 18 of their last 23 games.
But, let’s face it, you’re here already. So here are five more things to know from the night …
—- Matt Cain was hanging in there until the fifth, and then … disaster. The inning started with Brandon Phillips’ solo shot that cut the lead to one. Then it went single, single before Cain was relieved by Bryan Morris. After that, it was single, single, single, sacrifice fly, homer, flyout, walk, single, pitching change, single.
—- Morris had to wear it in the fifth because the bullpen is short, and boy, did he wear it. Morris gave up five runs on five hits and a walk. His ERA jumped two full points in two-thirds of an inning.
—- Kyle Crick made his MLB debut in that horrendous bottom of the fifth. The Giants surely did not want to bring him in with runners on, but Bruce Bochy had no choice when Morris blew up. Crick’s first pitch was a 95 mph heater. After giving up a hit in that inning, he pitched a perfect sixth and perfect seventh. Crick topped out at 97 mph. Pretty, pretty good stuff there. He needs to get a long look the rest of this year.
—- In the second, Buster Posey hit a ball that went 311 feet and had a hit probability of just six percent. Cain hit a ball 357 feet. Posey got a homer that bounced off the top of the wall; Cain just got a double. Baseball is such an odd game.
—- On a positive note, Javi Lopez, who calls Brandon Belt “Sparky,” repeatedly referred to Posey as Gerald. He’s going to be good at this job.
SAN FRANCISCO — There’s a very important fact you need to keep in mind when talk of Johnny Cueto’s opt-out comes up, as it so often will over the next six weeks: The Giants always expected him to opt-out after this season, from the moment the ink was dry on the six-year, $130-million contract.
When you sign at the top of your game and have a chance to hit the market at 31 years old and cash out a second time, you take it. Those are just the rules of professional sports. On the day Cueto was introduced, his agent, Bryce Dixon, said the two-year opt-out was important because they felt Cueto didn’t get a totally fair shot at free agency.
“Johnny, a little bit unfairly, had a lot of questions about his arm,” Dixon said in December of 2015. “I felt we could reestablish his actual value … He knows he’s as good as (David) Price and (Zack) Greinke, but his situation was a little different.”
The Giants were fine with this, too. The flip side of the opt-out is that if you have the chance to pay a dominant right-hander $46 million over two years, and then escape his mid- to late-thirties, you do it. Every time. You don’t even blink.
So, here we are, in June of the second year of that deal, with reports that Cueto will opt out. You should take a deep breath because you should have already expected this. But if you didn’t, take comfort in this: By all indications, Cueto has not made a decision, even with the Giants having an unimaginably poor season.
First of all, Cueto can't make a decision in June. What if the blisters return and he repeats his April ERA a couple more times? What if his elbow starts barking? There are no guarantees with pitchers, and until Cueto gets through the second season, there will be no finality with his decision.
Aside from the fact that he really can’t make that decision, though, sources insist Cueto hasn’t made up his mind or even thought much about it. People familiar with his thinking continue to say the focus has been baseball all season long, from spring training through his last start.
Cueto is said to be happy in San Francisco and he enjoys pitching in front of the crowd at AT&T Park. His biggest concern has been wins and losses, and in that respect, this has been a disappointing year for all involved.
That record has brought the Giants to a crossroads, and this is where it gets interesting. The easy solution is to trade Cueto next month, avoid the opt-out situation entirely, and add prospects to a system lacking them. But, it’s complicated. The Giants do not intend a full teardown, and if they’re going for it again in 2018 — with their core of Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Madison Bumgarner, etc. locked in, that’s the plan — they’ll want that second ace at the top of the rotation. And if Bumgarner doesn’t return to form after an injury, they’ll need Cueto’s presence.
The Giants have until July 31 to decide what to do with Cueto. He has until three days after the World Series ends to decide what to do with his contract. Here in June, by all indications, those decisions haven’t been made.