Posey draws lofty comparisons from Gibbons

Posey draws lofty comparisons from Gibbons

TORONTO -- Giants catcher Buster Posey has already accomplished so much over his short career that there isn't much left for him to prove. The 26-year-old has helped guide the Giants to a pair of World Series titles in three years, is the reigning National League MVP and was named the Rookie of the Year in his inaugural season in the big leagues in 2010.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons doesn't get to see Posey often, but his assessment of the backstop falls in line with the general consensus around baseball.

"He has it all going for him. He's the best all-around catcher in the game," Gibbons said.

"He handles a great pitching staff, he plays a big part of that and he hits cleanup on a world championship team."

Gibbons, a former catcher, says he has trouble finding a weakness in Posey's game. While Posey has a long way to go before he's thought of as an all-time great, Gibbons believes that's exactly the direction he is heading.

Toronto's skipper said two of the best catchers to ever play the game, both in the Hall of Fame, are who Posey reminds him of most.

"To be a good catcher and a hitter at the same time, you are looking at the guys like Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk," Gibbons said. "Those guys aren't just known as defensive specialists, they are big-time run producers.

"Those guys are rare. That's why when you get one, you keep them."

That's exactly what the Giants did, locking up Posey to a nine-year, $167 million contract extension right before the start of the season. Posey's contract is the longest ever for a catcher and he smashed the record for the richest deal ever signed by a player with less than three years of service time.

There was nothing more that the Giants needed to see from Posey, who put a 2011 season-ending injury behind him with a monster campaign last year, in which he set career highs in every meaningful offensive category.

When Giants manager Bruce Bochy was told about the Fisk comparison that Gibbons made, he had an almost identical response.

"You can look at a catcher like Fisk or Johnny Bench. Those are guys that not only caught but hit in the cleanup spot," Bochy said. "Those are a couple of names you can mention.

"They are similar in the fact that they all catch and hit in the middle of the order."

Hunter Pence, who joined the Giants at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last season, hasn't been a teammate of Posey's for long but said what the catcher has done over their short time together has almost left him speechless.

Pence, a seven-year veteran, said Posey is unlike most elite players he has ever witnessed.

"It's hard to really quantify how special he is. Through words you can't really explain it," Pence said. "He brings everything you could possibly ask for. He's a superstar who is as humble as anyone I have ever seen.

"It's a joy to play with him and I'm grateful to have him on our team."

Despite missing more than half of the 2011 season, Posey, a career .311 hitter, leads all catchers in wins above replacement since 2010, according to Fangraphs.com.

Chris Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.