SAN FRANCISCO — At age 26, Buster Posey can envision one day retiring with the San Francisco Giants.
For now, he is their new franchise man.
The Giants rewarded the NL MVP and batting champion catcher with a $167 million, nine-year contract Friday, a deal that includes a club option for 2022 that could raise the value to $186 million over a decade.
“It’s hard to put into words what I feel right now, just an incredible feeling know that for the next nine years I’ll be a part of this very storied franchise,” Posey said. “I’m incredibly humbled to know I’ll be a part of that.”
Posey had been due to make $8 million this year. He instead gets a $7 million signing bonus, with $5 million payable Oct. 15 and the remainder Jan. 15, and his 2013 salary is reduced to $3 million.
He will make $10.5 million in 2014, $16.5 million in 2015, $20 million in 2016 and $21.4 million in each of the following five seasons. The Giants’ option is for $22 million with a $3 million buyout.
“Obviously this is a big day for the Giants and a big day in Giants history,” CEO Larry Baer said. “By any measure the largest and boldest commitment we’ve ever made to a player, and obviously that’s a big deal. We don’t make these kinds of commitments lightly. ... In order to make a commitment like this we have to look at other measures, too, and look at the person. A nine-year commitment sounds like a lot but it wasn’t scary to us when you look at Buster the person.”
Posey’s agreement includes a full no-trade clause and is the longest for a catcher and the largest in Giants history, surpassing Matt Cain’s $127.5 million, six-year contract signed before the start of last season.
In addition, the deal is a record guarantee for a player with fewer than three years of major league service time — more than doubling the $80 million, seven-year contract Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez received before the 2011 season. It also is a record guarantee for a player with fewer than four years of service time, topping the $151.45 million over 11 years Colorado’s Todd Helton was assured in March 2001.
“I don’t know if we had a mountain to climb but we had a hill to climb to try to get on the same page,” general manager Brian Sabean said. “If he’s not the face of the franchise, he’s certainly a player that comes around either once every baseball life or not that often.”
The Giants captured their second championship in three years behind the play of the All-Star, who won the NL batting title and MVP award after missing most of 2011 following season-ending left leg and ankle injury.
Posey knows that there will be times things don’t go as well as they have so far for him with a World Series and Rookie of the Year award in 2010 followed by another title and season of honors last year.
“You get kind of spoiled when you win the World Series in your first year,” he said. “I can’t see how you can play here and not want to spend your career here.”