I see the Giants in a similar position as another team just a few years back regarding their catching situation. The team: the Minnesota Twins. The up-and-coming catcher: Joe Mauer. The Twins were so confident in Mauer at the time that they traded their incumbent, who unfortunately was A.J. Pierzynski. We know how things turned out for both teams. How does Buster Posey compare to Mauer at similar points in their career? Any chance Posey will become as good and talented as Mauer?
-- Dan K., San Francisco
If Posey merely approaches Mauer's skill level, he could become the Giants' best catcher in their San Francisco history. Posey might not be as much of a "can't-miss" prospect as Mauer was, but he's close. The catcher I've heard most frequently likened to Posey is Atlanta's Brian McCann, who's not as stellar as Mauer but is still very good. Four All-Star selections and three Silver Slugger awards in the last four years attest to that. I think the occupants of the Giants' front office would celebrate with a rum and Coke -- using a rum jug to match the size of the Coke bottle in AT&T Park's left field -- if Posey turns out to be as good as McCann.
Since the Yankees have made Nick Swisher available for a trade, do you think the Giants will look into acquiring him? Swisher could supply some much-needed pop and split his time between first base and the outfield, thereby allowing Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz to continue their development. Wouldn't Swisher be a nice fit?
-- Keith W., Los Angeles
You can't be sure about those rumors of a Swisher trade, and it's debatable whether the Giants would want him. But that thwacking noise you hear is the sound of me patting myself on the back. Last Jan. 8, I devoted several hundred words toward explaining why Swisher would be a solid fit for the Giants due to his offensive productivity, plate discipline, defensive flexibility and intangibles. But the day Brian Sabean relies on my player personnel advice will be the day when the FDA declares garlic fries an essential part of a nutritious diet.
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What do you think about the Giants signing Ivan Rodriguez? He would be cheap and can still defend. He should be a great mentor for Posey.
-- Aaron T., Los Gatos, Calif.
Rodriguez might indeed serve as an excellent mentor to Posey. But the Giants don't need a 38-year-old who hit .249 with 10 home runs, 18 walks and a .663 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in 448 plate appearances last season.
If we are looking for a quality veteran catcher who isn't going to cost too much, why not Henry Blanco? This guy is great on defense and could help Posey a lot. He made only $750,000 last year with the Padres. He would be a lot cheaper than Rodriguez.
-- Sean R., Sacramento, Calif.
Now you're talking. Blanco isn't an offensive powerhouse, but he's a widely respected receiver and would provide an excellent complement to Posey if the Giants wanted to ease the rookie into a regular role. But when I spoke last week with Blanco's agent, Steve Schneider, he said that the Giants hadn't contacted him.
Was Pablo Sandoval considered a "rookie" for the 2009 season? If so, I do not understand how he was not selected as Rookie of the Year.
-- Peter L., San Bruno, Calif.
Sandoval accumulated 145 at-bats in 2008, exceeding the rookie minimum by 15.
What is to become of Fred Lewis? With Nate Schierholtz, John Bowker, Eugenio Velez, Andres Torres, Aaron Rowand and possibly a free-agent outfielder, there seems to be no place for him. He isn't a good fit for the bench either, due to his defense.
-- Stephen S., Selma, Calif.
I'm sure the Giants are trying hard to trade Lewis. Either they can't find a good deal or he's not a highly sought commodity. The Giants could decline to tender Lewis a contract, but it's more likely that they'll bring him to Spring Training and hope that he plays impressively enough to prompt a trade. If another team doesn't want him and he indeed doesn't fit in the Giants' outfield, they'll have no choice but to release him.
When are they going to film a Giants movie at AT&T Park?
-- Randy M., Red Bluff, Calif.
After they win a World Series. It's going to be called "2012." Wishful thinking, huh?
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.