Former SF Giants first baseman Brandon Belt had a successful first season with the Toronto Blue Jays. However, after an agonizing playoff exit to the Minnesota Twins, Belt is in a position where he has to consider his future.
Former SF Giants first baseman mum on future after playoff exit
According to Mitch Bannon of SI.Com, Belt was noncommital about what his plans are next following the loss. This will be the third straight offseason in which the 13-year veteran enters free agency. Two winters ago, Belt accepted a qualifying offer to remain with San Francisco. However, the Giants went in a different direction last offseason.
At this time last year, there were questions as to whether he wanted to continue his playing career. Belt had undergone season-ending knee surgery and was coming off of a rough 2022 campaign.
In his final season with the Giants, the left-handed bat slashed .213/.326/.350 with eight home runs, 23 RBI, and 25 runs in 298 plate appearances. This included a 12.4 percent walk rate, 27.2 percent strikeout rate, and a .138 ISO. His excellent plate discipline remained, but the knee ailment sapped him of his power.
After a subpar season from Belt and the Giants' desire to get younger, a parting of ways made sense. It was an unusual position for Belt as he searched for a new home after spending his first 12 years with San Francisco.
Belt latched on with the Blue Jays on a one-year, $9.3 million pact. At first glance, it was an odd fit as Toronto already had Vladimir Guerrero Jr. firmly entrenched as the team's first baseman. Belt was to get playing time at DH, but with his down year in 2022, the Blue Jays were not sure what they were going to get.
The veteran hitter did not disappoint as he registered a .254/.369/.490 line with 19 home runs, 43 RBI, and 53 runs in 404 plate appearances. He has often flirted with 20 home runs, but only surpassed that threshold once in his career.
Nevertheless, Belt is an accomplished player and coming off of a solid season. I think athletes struggle with the balance of walking away a season too early or playing a year too long. In the case of Belt, he has proven that he still has plenty left in the tank.
If he retires, it would be on his own volition as he has nothing left to prove in the game. Plus, he has a young family and likely wants to spend more time with his two kids.