Word is, there's a decent-sized gap at this point, though not enough of a gap that the team or Posey has given up trying. Posey surely would like to be a Giant for life if at all possible, and the Giants, run by very smart and deep-pocketed people, wouldn't be opposed to such an arrangement, either, if it can be accomplished.
The question is, how long?
And of course, for how much?
These are not easy questions since Posey is a once-in-a-generation type player who's won two World Series and an MVP award , and he is just starting out.
Posey surely would like a deal for at least 10 years, and that isn't unreasonable. He is the franchise man they can't afford to let get away three more years after this one. He is only 25 and has already been the best player on two World Series champions in his two complete years – the only two World Series championships the Giants have won in 55 seasons in the Bay Area.
So they are 2 for 2 with him.
And 0 for 53 without him.
Giants chairman Larry Baer mentioned in recent interviews that the team and Posey were talking about a deal that could take care of the three extra arbitration years. And that is one possibility.
But while the Giants haven't spoken publicly about their longer efforts yet, they are definitely ongoing. And while there's a chance they may wind up only taking care of the arbitration years (or going year to year), the bigger effort at least at first will be to try to do the big deal, as it should be.
For a variety of reasons, it won't be easy.
Posey already set the record for largest first-year arbitration settlement at $8 million for 2013 (Ryan Howard has the record for a first-year arbitration hearing win at $10 million). And while that talk went relatively smoothly, Posey's uniqueness may make things difficult when it comes to a multi-year deal.
Posey is arguably the first player since Joe DiMaggio to win a World Series in his first two full seasons as the team's best player (I say arguably because Lou Gehrig was on DiMaggio's rookie team, the 1936 Yankees).
Posey is a catcher who was arguably the best offensive player in the National League last year (arguably because Ryan Braun has a case).
Posey is only getting going, and he is clearly getting better. He led the majors after the All-Star break last year in batting average (.385), on-base percentage (.456) and OPS (1.102). The second-place finishers were Torii Hunter, Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera. And none of them is 25. Or a catcher.
Posey, who hit a major-league best .336 last year with 24 home runs and 103 RBI while handily winning the MVP over worthy candidates Braun, Yadier Molina and Andrew McCutchen, is also about the most serious 25-year-old you are going to find. If there's ever any dropoff in performance, it's not going to be for a lack of effort or determination.
Speaking about whether he could duplicate his 2012 season earlier this spring, Posey said, “as cliché as it sounds, you go into a year seeking a way to strengthen your weaknesses.''
In his case, the first thing will be for him to identify a weakness.
For the Giants, the key is figuring out the fair length and price.
While a deal for 6-8 years might better suit the team's bean counters, it makes no sense for Posey to sign a mid-range contract such as that since he currently stands to become a free agent at 29, when barring injury he'd likely break a team's bank, and then some.
Posey is an unusual case because of his age, his position and his early special accomplishments. He is almost without peer. It's a perfect storm.
But Posey surely would prefer to remain a Giant, where he has built a name and a brand. And most important for him, they win.
In terms of early success, outlook and offense at a defensive position, Derek Jeter might be the best comp. Jeter signed a $189 million, 10-year deal with the Yankees at 26.
Of course, the players aren't exactly the same, and the times aren't, either.
If Jeter was questioned whether he'd last as a shortstop until the end of the contract, and he was, well, he's nearing the end of his next contract still a shortstop. Catcher is even trickier, but Posey's offensive skills suggest he could move to first base within a 10-year deal.
Of course, there's also been a fair amount of inflation in 13 years. Major League Baseball has gone from a $5 billion business to $8 billion. The value of the Giants in particular is through the roof. The Dodgers, the rival they keep beating, just sold for $2.15 billion.
The Giants would need to do something extra special to get this done. And there shouldn't be any cutting corners when they talk about their cornerstone player.
The Giants ownership team is a very smart group, and probably don't need much guidance, as their terrific decisions, including the selection of Posey with the No. 5 overall draft pick a few years back, have led to the two championships. But if there's one small issue they've occasionally struggled with, it's how to dole out the biggest deals. And who to give them to.
The issue has been paying too much to guys on other teams.
Now they have a franchise position player they've developed, so it should be a no-brainer to try hard to get it done.
They did the smart thing locking up Matt Cain to a five-year, $112.5 million contract extension last spring that took his deal to $127.5 million over six. He's their guy, and they knew he was worth it.
Cain is tough and great. But realistically, he is no Posey, a transformative player.
The Giants obviously know a great player when they see one. The rare trouble they've run into is when they've over-valued someone else's player.
The $60 million they gave to Aaron Rowand didn't work. The $126 million they bestowed on Barry Zito was high, though Zito stepped forward from dependable innings eater to star last year, helping win that championship and making them all feel much better about that nine-figure contract. At least it can no longer be considered anywhere near the worst contract in the game.
With Posey, they can do no wrong.
They have the money, too, you have to know.
While loot may not be quite falling out of their pockets quite like the Dodgers, the Giants have been a major success financially, as well. They built their own ballpark, AT&T Park in 2000, and it's one of the two or three nicest in baseball. More to the point, it's constantly filled nowadays.
The Giants have re-energized the fan base hungry for a winner, building their team around great starting pitching, led by Tim Lincecum, Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong. And of course their young, serious and ultra-talented catcher.
“I feel like I was very fortunate to be drafted into the Giants' organization, just because we have ownership that wants to put the best team on the field,'' Posey said.
While Posey grew up in the south (he's from Georgia and went to Florida State), as a kid he had his eye on Jeter, and some similarities have been noted. Jeter won championships in four of his first five seasons. That's going to be tough to match, especially if you count Posey's injury-ravaged second year.
Posey said he grew up admiring Jeter, like all kids in his age bracket. Posey remarked how Jeter always looked like he was having fun while maintaining intensity. Posey said the intensity is important.
He never seems off his game. Like Jeter would, he shrugged off the obligatory question about a contract.
“I'm happy with what we reached the first [arbitration] year,'' he said. “I'm looking forward to the upcoming season. That's really all there is to say about it.''
Those things will take care of themselves, he seemed to suggest.
In this case, the Giants need to take care of him.