With spring training right around the corner, the baseball offseason should be active as teams look to round out their rosters. According to Buster Olney of ESPN (subscription required), the Texas Rangers are eyeing longtime SF Giants first baseman Brandon Belt.
MLB insider reports that Rangers are considering longtime SF Giants first baseman
This fit makes sense for several reasons. The first being that Belt grew up in Texas and his family resides there during the offseason. The veteran first baseman even attended the University of Texas - Austin before being selected in the fifth round of the 2009 draft by the Giants.
The second reason is the Bruce Bochy connection. Bochy led the 90-win Rangers to their first World Series title in franchise history. He continues to add to a legacy that will land him in the Hall of Fame when he finally decides to retire from managing. Of course, prior to joining the Rangers, Bochy spent 13 seasons as the Giants' skipper with10 of those seasons being when Belt was in a Giants uniform.
The 35-year-old bat spent his first 12 seasons in a Giants uniform, helping the team win two World Series titles. His tenure came to an end a bit unceremoniously after undergoing season-ending knee surgery in 2022.
There were questions as to whether he would even continue his playing career given that he struggled to the tune of a .676 OPS in 298 plate appearances. The nagging knee ailment has been an issue throughout his career and it limited him to just eight home runs in 2022.
Last year, the Toronto Blue Jays signed him to a one-year, $9.3 million pact, thereby ending his time in San Francisco. The change of scenery was a positive experience for Belt as he slashed .254/.369/.490 (136 OPS+) with 19 home runs, 43 RBI, and 53 runs in 404 plate appearances for a Blue Jays team that won 89 games and reached the playoffs.
After the playoff exit, the lefty bat was mum on his future plans. Prior to Olney's report, there had been very few rumors connecting Belt to any team despite the fact that he was coming off of a solid 2023 campaign and has leverage as a free agent.
While a return to Toronto seems unlikely, the former Giants first baseman would be an obvious fit in Texas. The Rangers have a void in the lineup after Mitch Garver departed via free agency. For Belt, joining Texas would reunite him with his longtime manager.