SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey is the rock of the clubhouse, the leader of the Giants and probably the MVP of the National League.

Simply put, the 2012 Giants are defined by Posey, his performance, his work ethic and his quiet urgency.

This is no homer call: MVP, as simple as can be.

"It's one of those things I definitely didn't come into the season thinking about -- at all," Posey said Tuesday afternoon of the MVPosey talk.

"So it's neat. It's definitely an honor just to have your name mentioned."

The MVP moment? When Posey stood at his locker on the day of Melky Cabrera's suspension last month and made it icily clear that the Giants were moving forward without Cabrera.

Just by him saying and meaning it, the Giants moved forward, and left Cabrera behind. Because it was Posey.

The domination of the N.L. West came next.

"I think it could've gone one way or the other," Posey said of the team's mood back then. "And I think fortunately it went the right way. I think a lot of guys kind of put their head down and just started going even harder."

Posey has led the way, of course. He has been on a tear since the All-Star break, powering to the top of the major hitting categories a year after his devastating ankle injury.

His stats are comparable to Milwaukee's Ryan Braun and Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen, but Posey mostly plays catcher, a much more demanding position than those two outfielders.


Advertisement

I say "mostly," because Posey rarely catches Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito, almost surely by preference of both starters. Which is the one blip on Posey's MVP candidacy -- he is a catcher who doesn't catch 40 percent of the time.

Hector Sanchez caught Lincecum on Tuesday, marking the 14th time in Lincecum's past 16 starts that someone other than Posey was his catcher.

Is there an issue between Lincecum and Posey, heroes of the 2010 World Series run? Giants sources swear it is nothing more than pitching-catching chemistry.

And Posey has handled the situation so smoothly that I think it only boosts his big-picture value to this team, and his MVP credibility.

Posey is a potential Gold Glove catcher (perennially stuck behind St. Louis' stellar Yadier Molina in this category) who accepts moving aside if manager Bruce Bochy decides it is best.

"When you say I don't catch them, I mean, I caught Zito just the other day (in a victory) against L.A.," Posey said. "I haven't caught Timmy in a while. But it's not like I haven't caught them all year."

Does he expect to catch them in the playoffs or a big late-season series?

"I would assume ... this is just me speculating ... I would think I would not catch Timmy," Posey said. "Zito, I could see it going either way.

"I think Timmy and Sanchy have kind of found a groove and want to keep that going."

Bochy says he is comfortable with Posey catching either pitcher but that the circumstances give him a way to rest Posey regularly, either out of the lineup or at first base.

Posey, who caught everybody, including Lincecum, during the 2010 run, says he is fine with any successful formula.

"You do whatever you need to do to win," Posey said. "Like I just mentioned, Timmy and Sanchy have found a groove."

That's the way a leader talks, and Posey agrees that he has been growing into that role with the Giants.

"I try to do things the right way," Posey said. "And I think the main thing is, we have a group of guys that likes to win.

"And we're starting to get that feeling of going out and playing the game with confidence I think you need to be successful."

If Posey wins the MVP award, he would join Johnny Bench and Thurman Munson as the only catchers to have won a Rookie of the Year Award, MVP and World Series title in their careers.

And Posey is 25, by the way.

"I don't think he's caught up in the MVP stuff as much as he is in his job to help win the ballgame," Bochy said. "That's who he is.

"But, yeah, I think he's definitely a leader on this club; there's no question about it."

Posey is the Giants' constant, their voice and their conscience. If Posey wasn't having an MVP year, the Giants wouldn't be very good.

But he is, and they are.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.

---