Buster Posey's value to the Giants is easy to quantify. With him, they're two-time champions. Without him, they're not a playoff team. So the key to 2013 seems clear:

Keep the reigning National League MVP on the field.

While it's overly simplistic to suggest that the Giants will go as far as Posey takes them - or that how Posey goes, so go the Giants - it might not be far from the truth. Nobody else on the roster is more of a precious commodity, as we saw in 2010 and 2012 when he was healthy and in 2011 when he wasn't.

Asked if one guy can be such a difference maker, Giants general manager Brian Sabean said, "What he's done with the pitching staff and what he's done in the middle of the order, yeah, he can pull a lot of weight. Baseball is usually not like that, but he's close. There's no doubt he's our franchise player."

Makes a Giants fan wonder.

What if that Scott Cousins home-plate episode never happened and Posey played out the 2011 season instead of missing the final four months with ankle and leg injuries? The Giants won 86 games that year, six fewer than in 2010 and eight fewer than in 2012.

Maybe we're looking at three deep postseason runs, not two.