SF Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was on KNBR this past week to discuss some looming offseason decisions including bringing back two key veterans. Zaidi reiterated that they "would love to have" Brandon Belt and Buster Posey return.
SF Giants "would love to have" key veterans return
Posey and Belt are different boats in that the Giants hold a team option over the former, whereas the latter is set to become a free agent for the first time. With Posey, the Giants certainly want him back but given that he will turn 35 before the start of next season, the idea of retirement is closer than it was just a few years ago.
Zaidi even hints to that idea in the interview as the team is gauging "his interest in coming back." It seems unlikely that Posey decides to hang up his spikes but it is becoming more of a conversation as his career has progressed.
On a different note, Zaidi indicated that the team option was just one avenue in which the Giants could approach Posey's offseason. Another option, and one that the team seemingly wants, is to work out an extension with the longtime Giants catcher. But, it sounds as if the Giants are waiting for clarity from Posey before discussing the next steps.
On the other hand, Brandon Belt is set to become a free agent at the conclusion of the World Series. The left-handed bat had a career year, slashing .274/.378/.597 (160 OPS+) with 29 home runs, 59 RBI, and 65 runs scored across 381 plate appearances. Of course, this includes an always robust 12.6 percent walk rate.
Given how he performed in 2021, the Giants will likely issue him a one-year,
$18.4 million qualifying offer. Belt would then have ten days to accept or reject the qualifying offer. If he rejects it, then the Giants would receive draft pick compensation if he were to sign elsewhere.
The qualifying offer option is one source of leverage for the Giants that could eventually lead to a multi-year deal. The front office appreciates Belt's skill set and Zaidi was quick to notice that the lineup was not the same after the 33-year-old sustained a broken thumb on a bunt attempt in the final week of the season.
Belt has quietly been one of the better hitters over the past couple of years and it looks like he has finally found the consistency in his swing mechanics to sustain a hot streak. That said, durability is the factor that limits his upside. He missed substantial time in 2021 as he battled a knee injury as well as the thumb injury.
The Giants have built up enough depth that they have a couple of options in case Belt hits the injured list in future seasons. It is difficult to replicate his offensive value but the drop off was not nearly as noticeable last season.
Regardless, the first couple of offseason moves will likely revolve around keeping the veteran core intact. The Giants have shown their hand in that they want both Belt and Posey to return. The next step is to find a deal that works for all parties.