One of the biggest questions going into the 2022 offseason for the SF Giants is whether longtime first baseman Brandon Belt will remain a Giant going into next year. What is the likelihood that he decides to retire?
SF Giants: Will Brandon Belt retire after the 2022 season?
After Buster Posey's surprise retirement after the 2021 season, it threw into stark relief the fact that the last vestiges of the SF Giants championship run from last decade will soon be gone. With Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford both in their mid-30's, it is clear that within the next few years the Giants may completely lose the core nucleus of players they had for so long.
Some fans may applaud this after a lackluster 2022 in which Crawford and Belt have been unable to post the same numbers they did last year when they seemed to turn back the clock and help the team win 107 games.
But in the case of Brandon Belt, his exit from the team seems more imminent as his contract only takes him through the end of 2022. The big question is A) whether Belt will even continue playing after 2022, and B) if he does, will the Giants choose to bring him back.
Alex Pavlovic wrote a recent piece focused on Belt's injury struggles this year and over the course of his career. His most recent injury issues have had to do with an injured right knee that he has battled all season.
The injury has been described as "chronic" and has caused Belt to have the knee drained numerous times. One may wonder whether this wear and tear will cause Captain Belt to follow in Posey's footsteps and call it quits after this season.
We all know that Belt is a tough customer and that he wants to finish his Giants career, let alone his big league career, better than he has played this season. We have all seen his struggles at the plate this year, and it is only natural to question, especially at his age, how much more Belt has left in the tank.
If Belt does choose to retire, the Giants will be left trying to fill a pair of very large shoes (size 15 in fact) at first base. For the past decade, when Belt has been healthy, there has been no question who the starting first baseman is. That could change after this season.
If Belt does choose to retire, he has had a great career with the Giants. He was a key member of both the 2012 and 2014 championship teams and has entertained us with his dry personality and humor over the years. It is far from certain that he will hang those size 15's up after this year, but one can't help but feel like we are getting close to saying goodbye to Brandon Belt in San Francisco.