Giants lock up top Draft pick Posey
Catcher will soon report to Arizona Rookie League club
ATLANTA -- The Buster Posey drama ended Friday night when the Giants signed the much-heralded catcher, their top selection in June's First-Year Player Draft, shortly before the 9 p.m. PT deadline.Posey, the Draft's fifth choice overall, received a $6.2 million bonus, according to Baseball America -- by far the largest in Giants history. Rafael Rodriguez, the 16-year-old Dominican outfielder, received $2.55 million last month. It had been speculated that Posey would receive a Major League contract, but that wasn't part of the deal. "I can't describe how excited I am to be a Giant," Posey said in a conference call. "It's been a lifelong dream of mine to get to this point." Posey will quickly begin his professional career, although just a few weeks remain in the Minor League season. Bobby Evans, the Giants' director of player personnel, said that Posey will report to the organization's Arizona Rookie League affiliate in the next few days and indicated that the 21-year-old could soon advance to another club.
"We'll get him some at-bats there [in Arizona] before he goes anywhere," Evans said.Posey declined to say whether the delay in signing made him anxious, though he acknowledged, "It's the first of this type of experience for me, so it's a little bit different." By securing Posey's services, the Giants potentially bolstered themselves at catcher for years to come. Bengie Molina, their Major League incumbent, becomes eligible for free agency after next season and will be 35 at that juncture. "I think this is the way you develop a winning organization, by bringing in players with the makeup and ability that he has," Giants scouting director John Barr said. Posey's deal does not guarantee him an invitation to Major League Spring Training in 2009. The Giants will decide during the offseason whether to take that step with him. "Given his status, he's certainly going to be a candidate. But there's no contractual stipulation," Evans said. Posey, who bats right-handed, led the nation in six offensive categories during his junior season at Florida State, including batting average (.463), hits (119), RBIs (93), total bases (226), slugging percentage (.879) and on-base percentage (.566). He also finished third in runs scored (89) and tied for third in home runs (26). The Leesburg, Ga., native also earned a collegiate Rawlings Gold Glove Award by recording a .983 fielding percentage and throwing out 40.7 percent of baserunners attempting to steal. Posey, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 205 pounds, won this year's Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation's top amateur player. Previous winners include two notable Giants, first baseman Will Clark (1985) and right-hander Tim Lincecum (2006).
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.