Sure, there were rumors that there would perhaps be another guy to keep the seat warm as Posey eased himself into the starting position. A lot of people were thinking about Rod Barajas as an option. Some were thinking about a Gregg Zaun-esque player. Heck, some people even thought Yorvit Torrealba coming back to San Francisco was a realistic possibility.
Whoever the temp would be, the plan seemed to be clear: whether it was Opening Day or by May or June, Posey was going to be the man calling pitches for the Giants.
Or so that was the plan... until Bengie Molina re-signed with the Giants today.
Now, with Posey's lack of experience catching at the big league level, and manager Bruce Bochy's undying love of Molina (and batting him in the cleanup spot to boot), the "Posey Era", which was talked about so much this Winter, seems to be on hold.
As a Giants fan, it's hard to understand fully what happened. Sure, there are certain things that make sense.
For starters, Posey is inexperienced, and considering the team has aspirations to make the playoffs last year after barely missing out in 2009, Molina is more suited to start for this team. Furthermore, when you couple that with the fact the Giants got him on a one year deal because Molina and his agents severely overestimated his market value (seriously, did he really think he was worth a three-year contract in this economy?), then this really is on paper a win-win for the Giants. The Giants get an experienced catcher, a solid (if unspectacular) hitter, and they got him at a relative bargain considering what he was demanding when the off-season began.
However, Molina's signing still makes Giants fans wonder. It makes fans wonder if General Manager Brian Sabean has gotten any smarter or dumber since being put in hot water after the 2007 season.
In some ways, you could make the argument for both. When you look at the glass half-full, no longer is Sabean throwing really big money at aging guys. He only signed Huff for one year, and he only signed Molina for one year, and they will make less than ten million dollars combined. Three or four years ago, Sabean signs both these guys for no less than nine million per year each, and no less than three years. So, in that sense, you have to think Sabean is learning after 13 years.
On the flip side, he's still signing aging guys, not necessarily a good thing. With Tim Lincecum filing a record $13 million arbitration offer today, Sabean needs to show his young star players (mainly Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval) that he has a solid team built for the future in order to keep them from jumping ship to New York or Boston when they offer them more money when they become free agents. However, when your core team is built around a guy who tanked in Detroit after the Trade Deadline, and a cleanup hitter who had an on-base percentage under .300, I don't necessarily know if you're really building for the future, even if you have a lot of talent in the Minor Leagues.
There are many questions to ask about this whole Molina re-signing. Will the Giants be better? Will Molina be a better hitter now that he isn't forced to bat cleanup? Will Bochy still hit him cleanup even though he has better (although not much better) options in Huff and Derosa?
That being said though, I think the main question Giants fans will continue to ask until Opening Day is this: will Buster Posey ever be given a chance to show off that upside he has?
As of now, it almost seems definite that Giants fans won't get an answer to that question until at least the 2011 season.