The San Francisco Giants avoided arbitration with Brandon Belt by reportedly signing him to a one-year, 3.6 million dollar deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Belt had asked for 4.5 million and the Giants had originally offered $3 million; he earned 2.9 mil in 2014.
Last year in a season marred by two significant injuries, Belt batted .243 with a .306 on-base-percentage, while clubbing twelve home runs and knocking in 27 runs. After hitting .289 with seventeen home runs in 2013, while making a pair of key August adjustments in his batting stance and the way he positioned his hands on the bat, many had great expectations for the six-foot, five-inch first baseman.
He shot out the gate with nine round-trippers last spring, before having his thumb pulverized May 9th, by a Paul Maholm pitch, resulting in the first of his two stints on the disabled list.
After only one stint on the DL in his career, Belt spent 96 games there in 2014.
The second resulted form being hit in the face by a thrown ball on the practice field before a game on July 20th, resulting in a concussion that would plague him until September.
Belt came off the DL August 2nd but returned August 8th when the concussion symptoms continued to bother him. Not until September 15th did he finally emerge from the DL for good, allowing him two weeks to try and regain some of that power he was exhibiting early in the season. Apparently he was successful, as his eighteenth-inning blast in Washington DC attested to, and the Giants went on to a 2-1 win and a victory over the Nationals in the National League Division Series.
Oct 4, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (9) is greeted in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the eighteenth inning against the Washington Nationals in game two of the 2014 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports
One of a core of home-grown products in the starting lineup, including Buster Posey, Joe Panik, and Brandon Crawford, Belt is also one of the Southern Brigade, hailing from Texas. Other products of the San Francisco farm system include starting pitchers Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong (with pitstops in Pittsburgh and Japan), and set-up man, Sergio Romo.
With Belt once more poised for a breakout year, the hope is that Brian Sabean will orchestrate a long-term deal so as to lock up his services for the foreseeable future, before the end of the season.
Now all Belt has to do is hit thirty home runs and knock in eighty runs to make everyone agree with this idea.