The longtime SF Giants 1B belter has reportedly signed with the Toronto Blue Jays
Shortstop Brandon Crawford is the last holdover from the Giants’ World Series teams of the early 2010s after longtime first baseman Brandon Belt agreed to a one-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. according to multiple reports Monday night.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle was the first to report that Belt was moving on from the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2009 draft and helped the team win the last two of its three championships World Series in five seasons from 2010. -14. He batted .308 during the 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals. Earlier in this playoff run, Belt hit a home run to lead off the 18th inning of Game 2 of the NLDS to beat the Washington Nationals.
The Nationals gave San Francisco their second win in a 3-1 series victory.
Belt debuted with the Giants in 2011 and, barring injuries, has been the everyday first baseman ever since.
Belt, 34, received a guaranteed deal worth $9.3 million, according to The Athletic’s Kaitlyn McGrath. Belt was also a free agent last offseason, but returned to the orange and black after accepting the team’s one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer. The Giants brought back free agent prospect Joc Pederson this offseason with a qualifying offer of $19.65 million.
Belt, known to Giants fans over the years as “Baby Giraffe” and, more recently, “Captain,” became the longest-tenured member of the Giants when Buster Posey retired after the 2021 season. The All- 2016 star had one of his best seasons in 2021, hitting a career-high 29 homers with a .274/378/.597 slash line to help the Giants to a franchise-record San Francisco win of 107 games.
Allowing Belt to leave as a free agent paves the way for the Giants to use JD Davis, Lamont Wade Jr. and others at first base in 2023.
After 12 seasons with the Giants, Belt joins a loaded Blue Jays lineup headlined by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer, Bo Bichette and former A’s third baseman Matt Chapman. Belt will likely share time at first base with Guerrero and also give Toronto matchup options at the designated hitter.
Belt’s season ended when he had surgery on his right knee in September. Belt’s status with the Giants was uncertain before the injury, but he made it clear shortly after the procedure that he intended to play somewhere in 2023.
During an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area during a Giants telecast about a week after the procedure, Belt told Giants fans he felt “like a new person.”
Belt rebounded in 2020-21, hitting 38 home runs with a .285/.393/.595 slash line. He said knee inflammation affected his production last season, when he appeared in just 78 games, making him optimistic about a return to form in 2023.
“I know I have a lot left in me,” Belt said during the interview. “That’s what I want to show everybody. My body feels good. I had a problem with my knee, but if I get it back to where it needs to be, I’ll be the same productive player.”
Check back for more on this developing story.
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