The devastating injury of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey is a huge blow to the Giants' starting lineup. Posey, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, was the Giants cleanup hitter and will be difficult to replace.
How will the Giants cope with the loss? Eli Whiteside, the Giants backup catcher will start in place of Posey. However, Whiteside, who is hitting 0.185 for the season, is not a cleanup hitter.
Immediate speculation following the injury has the Giants re-signing Bengie Molina, who is available on the free agent market. He was the Giants starting catcher last year before being traded to the Texas Rangers when Posey took over in the starting lineup. Molina helped spark the Rangers' offense last year in their run towards the World Series.
Another option would Ivan Pudge Rodriguez, who is reportedly available for trade from the Washington Nationals.
However, both options could not replace the irreplaceable Posey in both his play and his energy in the lineup. What is more important is getting a replacement bat in the lineup, since Whiteside will be a suitable defensive replacement and catchers don't need to be cleanup hitters anyway.
For that reason, the Giants have called up minor league phenom Brandon Belt, who started the year at first base, but struggled hitting 0.192 in 17 games. Despite struggling, Belt showed a remarkable amount of plate discipline and his bat came back in Triple-A Fresno, where he hit 0.337 with 4 homeruns in 31 games.
Belt should play outfield, as he has been practicing the position in the minor leagues. Moving Aubrey Huff to the outfield and was a failed experiment earlier in the year. Huff has proven to be more than adequate at defense at first base, making a superb basket catch in last night's game, and being able to stretch out his arm to catch difficult throws. Huff was the Giants' best hitter last year, and deserves the stability of playing first base.
The Giants will have an infusion in their lineup with the return of Pablo Sandoval in less than two weeks. Sandoval was hitting 0.313 with 5 homeruns in 24 games before going on the disabled list for a hamate bone fracture.
Factoring in all these things, this is what the Giants' starting lineup should be when Sandoval returns:
Andres Torres, CF
Freddy Sanchez, 2B
Aubrey Huff, 1B
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Brandon Belt, LF
Cody Ross, RF
Miguel Tejada, SS
Eli Whiteside, C
Depending on the severity of Posey's injury, Posey may or may not be out for the rest of the year. If Posey is able to come back in the later months of the season, his bat will be a much needed infusion for the playoff run.
In the meantime, Giants players, management, and fans are hoping for the best in Posey's recovery from his injury.