Longtime SF Giants first baseman Brandon Belt is on the move after signing a one-year, $9.3 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle confirmed the news with Mark Feinsand of MLB.Com adding the terms.
Toronto Blue Jays sign longtime SF Giants first baseman to 1-year deal
Seeing Belt in a different uniform will be an odd sight as the 12-year veteran has become a popular figure among Giants fans. If the left-handed bat was going to sign elsewhere, I expected that it would have been closer to home with the Houston Astros or the Texas Rangers. The Blue Jays feel out of left field, which is also a position Belt played at one point in his career.
This marks the end of Belt's tenure in San Francisco. He was selected in the fifth round of the 2009 draft out of the University of Texas - Austin. He quickly emerged as not only a top prospect in the organization, but one of the best in baseball. Baseball Prospectus rated him as the No. 22 prospect prior to the 2011 season.
Belt debuted with the Giants in 2011 and entrenched himself in the lineup and at first base over the next 12 seasons. The 34-year-old has had a very solid career as he was part of two World Series teams, earned an All-Star nod in 2016, and received down-ballot MVP votes in 2020.
In total, the former fifth-round pick registered a .261/.356/.458 line (123 OPS+) with a 12.2 percent walk rate against a 23.7 percent strikeout rate. During his time with San Francisco, Belt proved to have one of the best and most selective eyes in baseball.
He struggled to the tune of a .676 OPS with just eight home runs in 298 plate appearances for the Giants in 2022. It was clear that he was not healthy, but he tried to play through injury. However, Belt decided to undergo season-ending surgery at the start of September to alleviate the pain and he was optimistic in his ability to return to the field in 2023.
That field will be the Rogers Centre in Toronto. It is tough to see a player leave who has spent so much time with one organization, but the hope is that he is landing with a team that gives him the best chance to succeed and win.