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San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey retires, citing family, physical toll of game

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Longtime San Francisco Giants star Buster Posey said the desire to spend more time with his family combined with the physical toll of playing catcher led him to retire Thursday following a 12-year MLB career.

Posey, 34, was a seven-time All-Star, including in his final season when he hit .304. He is the first catcher in MLB history to hit .300 or better in his final year.

“I want to do more stuff from February to November with family,” Posey said in a news conference. “Physically, it’s much harder now. It’s hard to enjoy it as much when there is physical pain that you’re dealing with.

“It was getting to the point that things that I was enjoying were not as joyful anymore.”

Posey was flanked by his wife, Kristen, Giants chairman Greg Johnson, team president Larry Baer and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.

At one point Zaidi turned to Posey to ask a question.

“Is this a for sure thing?” he said with a laugh. “I had to ask.”

Posey joins Pete Rose as the only other player in MLB history to win Rookie of the Year (2010), an MVP (2012) and three World Series rings (2010, ’12, ’14).

Posey opted out of playing last year during the pandemic-shortened season. He said the time off helped inform him of his decision to call it quits after this season.

“It allowed me to … really, really empty the tank this year like I never have before,” Posey said. “The year off probably played into the decision a little bit.”

Asked what he will miss most about the game, Posey said, “No doubt the camaraderie with the teammates in the clubhouse and the thrill of winning a great game.”

However, he said his family and the physical toll of the game “was ultimately why I didn’t waver during the year.”

Posey will be known for a rule change that came about after he was run over at the plate by Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins in a game in 2011. Posey suffered a fractured fibula and torn ligaments in his ankle. In 2014, the league instituted several new rules to avoid home-plate collisions.

Posey caught three no-hitters, tied for third-most in league history. He’s one of eight catchers ever to be selected to five All-Star games, win an MVP and win at least one World Series title. Five of the other seven are in the Hall of Fame.

Posey came back to play this season to prove to himself he could still perform at a high level after a down 2019 when his OPS dropped to .688.

Though Posey said he plans to move back to Georgia to be closer to family, the Giants said there will be a role for him with the team if he wants it.

“I’ll miss the people, number one,” Posey said. “I’ll miss not having to share that common objective or goal that starts back in February and carries all the way until the end of October.

“In my mind I’ll always be part of the Giants organization. I couldn’t tell you what capacity right now. … I feel very lucky that we had the season that we had this year, personally and team-wise.”

Posey retires with exactly 1,500 big league hits and 158 home runs. He’ll be eligible for the Hall of Fame in five years.

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What happens to Marcus Semien’s fantasy value in Texas?

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The first of the big-name free agent shortstops — or, in this case, second base, which was his primary position in 2021 — is off the board, as Marcus Semien reportedly agreed to sign with the Texas Rangers on Sunday, for a whopping seven years and $175 million.

Semien was the best in fantasy terms from that group, finishing fourth among shortstop-eligibles and third among second basemen in 2021. He’s also the oldest, having turned 31 years of age in September, so it’s curious to see a rebuilding team like the Rangers turn in his direction. It might be one of the few places where his chances of repeating what was a marvelous past season took a definitive hit.

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Kevin Gausman finds new home, agrees with Toronto Blue Jays on $110 million contract, sources say

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Right-handed starting pitcher Kevin Gausman and the Toronto Blue Jays are in agreement on a five-year, $110 million contract, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Sunday night.

Gausman was a reliable back-end starter early in his career, posting a 4.22 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP and a 3.02 strikeout-to-walk ratio while averaging 146 innings per season for the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds from 2014 to 2019.

But his career truly took off upon joining the San Francisco Giants, who helped him fine-tune his splitter to form a devastating combination with his four-seam fastball.

Gausman, originally obtained on a one-year, $9 million contract, posted a 3.62 ERA with 79 strikeouts and only 16 walks in 59 2/3 innings during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season. The 30-year-old right-hander returned to the Giants after accepting the qualifying offer and was even better in 2021, combining a 2.81 ERA with 227 strikeouts and only 50 walks in 192 innings while anchoring the starting rotation for a team that won a major league-best 107 games.

Gausman made his first All-Star team that year, then finished sixth in National League Cy Young Award voting and became one of the most coveted free agents on the market.

Gausman could help fill a new hole in the Blue Jays’ rotation. Last week, Toronto lost starting pitcher Steven Matz, who posted a 14-7 record, with a 3.82 ERA in 29 starts last season. The veteran agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.

ESPN Staff Writer Alden Gonzalez contributed to this report.

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MLB free-agency grades – Texas Rangers bet big on their future with Marcus Semien signing

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Raise your hand if, like me, you uttered something unprintable when you heard the reported terms of Marcus Semien‘s new contract and the team that had offered them. That’s what we call a knee-jerk reaction, which isn’t always rational or correct. Your real response is what you come up with after thinking through the factors involved. Often, then, you see a reason and a rhyme, even with surprising news.

For me, after thinking this deal through, I still think something mildly unprintable, but it’s a word that’s less severe than my knee-jerk phrase — and it comes with a slightly more positive connotation.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Semien and his representatives agreed to a seven-year, $175 million deal with the Texas Rangers. It’s the richest deal by far of this year’s free-agent season, matching the average annual value of Justin Verlander‘s deal with the Astros ($25 million) but for a half-decade longer.

In finding a new team, Semien becomes the second member of the long-anticipated shortstop free-agent class of 2021-22 to find a long-term home (the first being Francisco Lindor, who agreed to an extension with the Mets last season). Let’s consider that class with a few numbers from baseball-reference.com:

Here, it’s worth noting that Passan is also reporting that Semien is far from likely to be the last of the Rangers’ high-level free-agent targets, even among that shortstop class. Still, for now, we’ll look at how he fits as if he were the jewel of the Rangers’ winter push, and not just a jewel.



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