The Giants announced Saturday that they’ve signed first baseman Brandon Belt to an extension through the 2021 season. The deal will pay Belt $8.8MM in 2017, and then $16MM in each of the next four years for a total of $72.8MM. There aren’t any options included in the contract, though Belt receives a partial no-trade clause that allows him to block trades to 10 teams, beginning next season. Belt is represented by Excel Sports Management.
Belt’s deal just tops the the six-year, $75MM extension Brandon Crawford signed with San Francisco in November. Belt’s $6.2MM contract for 2016 allowed him and the Giants to avoid an arbitration hearing, and Belt would have been arb-eligible for the third and final time next offseason before hitting the open market after 2017. Instead, this new extension will cover that last arbitration year and Belt’s first four free agent seasons.
Belt becomes the latest Giant signed to a major multi-year contract into the 2020s, joining Crawford, Buster Posey, Jeff Samardzija and (if he doesn’t exercise his opt-out clause) Johnny Cueto. While the Giants have the financial might to afford a large payroll, the club has some extra financial breathing room thanks to Matt Duffy and Joe Panik still being on pre-arbitration contracts, as well as Madison Bumgarner controlled through 2019 on what has become a very team-friendly extension signed between the ace’s first and second seasons in the bigs.
Belt, who turns 28 later this month, has a .272/.349/.456 slash line and 63 homers over 2061 career plate appearances. The advanced defensive metrics are very impressed by his glove, as Belt has +23 Defensive Runs Saved and a +6.1 UZR/150 over his career at first. Belt also has relatively even career splits against both left-handed (.784 OPS) and right-handed (.813 OPS) pitchers, though the Giants were prone to sit him against southpaws early in his career.
Despite these strong numbers, however, there is still a sense that the best could be yet to come. It took a while for Belt to firmly establish himself as the Giants’ regular first baseman, and he has also had a couple of notable injury concerns — he played in only 61 games in 2014 due to a broken thumb and a concussion, and he also missed time last season due to another concussion.
Perhaps with these injuries in mind and the fact that Posey may need more time at first base as the years go on, there were rumors earlier this winter that the Giants could be looking to trade Belt. As the offseason went on, however, trade speculation gave way to talk of an extension between the two sides, particularly after Crawford’s deal was finalized.
Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com was first to report that Belt and the Giants had agreed to terms. Shea was first to tweet that the deal was complete. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the year-to-year breakdown. Pavlovic, Jon Heyman, Shea and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal all reported details of the contract’s structure.
Photo courtesy of Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports Images
Yeah congrats the Gisnts have a very good team. I think they are going to run away with that division. I think if they have any weakness it’s the bullpen.
Let me start by saying that I am a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, so some of you die hard Giants fans can help me gain some perspective…
Don’t get me wrong, I like Brandon Belt; however, I’m not sure that I like Brandon Belt at 16+ million per season. And I do understand that there is still upside in his bat, but at that price point wouldn’t the giants benefit by going out and acquiring an elite catcher that rates highly in pitch framing and can still contribute with his bat? At that point you can move Posey to 1B full time which will save his knees and keep him safe from further head injuries. Buster is the leader of that team in every sense of the word, so keeping him on the field should be the organizations top priority, and let’s be honest with one another, having Buster behind the plate is NOT helping to keep him healthy and on the lineup cards. Can Belt play a respectable corner outfield? Or have the Giants just handcuffed themselves to having Belt at 1B for then next 5 seasons(barring trading him)? Because if that is the case, then Sabean made a mistake.
Giants fans, please give me your opinions on this! Tell me your opinions on Posey’s long term position and health. And also about Belt’s deal, cost and value, and also his positional flexibility… Please help me understand Sabean’s logic or lack thereof!
I think Belt’s upside is huge! In I believe 2014 he was having a incredible year up until the concussion and I think he will really break out this year now that all the injuries are behind him. Add to that that Posey is one of the very best (if not the best) defensive catcher, you would always downgrade when you move him away from catching.
I have to say, as a Giants fan, couldn’t be happier with this signing!
Posey’s a great catcher. I’m happy to have him there for another few years. I also love Belt as a player — very good hitter, very good gloveman, and a decent baserunner for a guy his size. He’s underrated as a hitter because of AT&T Park. Last year his wRC+ (overall offensive mectric scaled to 100, and adjusted for park and league) was 135, 21st in baseball, just ahead of Manny Machado.
Is 5 more years for Posey catching asking for trouble? Maybe, but it’s not like everyone necessarily goes the Mauer route. Posey has actually kept quite healthy apart from that one horrible leg injury back in 2011.
As for Belt in left, I think he could pull it off. In his few innings out there, he’s looked a bit awkward, but not disastrous. (When the Giants had Morse in LF in 2014, I think everyone would have been thrilled to swap them.) That said, I’m not sure I love the idea of playing him a few innings a year out there like they’ve been doing. If they’re going to do it, they need to start getting him more regular reps.
Three World Series in five years I don’t think you can question his decisions. While I agree, somewhat, with your logic, it is apparent keeping Belt was a priority. He is a gold-glove caliber first baseman, which Posey is not. He has speed, hits for average & power, and is a team player. The Giants must not have a prospect in their system that comes close to replacing Belt in the near future and putting Posey there full-time is not best for SF. Putting him there occasionally, plus giving him more days off, seems to be the plan. Also, keep in mind Posey is one of the best, if not THE best, defensive catchers in the game, including pitch framing, calling pitches, and handling the staff. No doubt management sees him continuing that role and there are no health issues in his career that say he can’t. All the experts are saying “great move” by the Giants and I agree. Yes, his salary and no. of years is a gamble but it’s always a gamble with any player. Think he will end up being a bargain and it will also free up any 1B prospects for trade bait if need be.
Posey is one of the best defensive catcher and whose value is higher as a catcher since he can play defense and hit. And yet you want to move him to first base full time where he is not as good defensively and his offense would not be considered elite for the position? That would not be a hood move. Giants know what they are doing by keeping him at catcher and letting him play first base at times to keep him fresh. That is the best plan. Not taking the best catcher in the league and turning him into just a top ten first baseman which has incredibly less value to the team then a stud catcher.
$16m is not going to get you a catcher as good as Posey. Not nearly. And while Posey is a better hitter than Belt, and has improved defensively at 1B, he’s still not as good defensively as Belt. Plus Posey being right-handed is not ideal for 1B. Moving Posey to 1B weakens the catcher position and whatever was gained offensively at 1B would be lost defensively there. Belt can fill in adequately in LF, but he’s not ideal there defensively either. So the net result is you weaken 2 positions with the 3rd one being a wash by putting Posey at first.
I am not sure how the $16mm AAV contract Belt signed for his first 4 years of free agency affects the value of Posey. I too feel Belt has been overpaid but not by much. His power output is tied mainly to his ability to hit doubles (33 last year) and not to home runs (18 career high last year). He also had 5 triples last year which I am sure led or was close to leading first baseman. He strikes out a lot (147 times last year in 492 AB’s). Granted he has elite defensive abilities at first but that is still at 1st. Not quite a position where elite defensive abilities is at all necessary.
To sum this up. The Giants have signed a first baseman through his age 34 season that relies on speed for a good portion of his value. Speed being the tool that seems to diminish with age faster than the others, I think they will regret this signing starting in his age 31 season. Yes, $16mm will not get you another Posey, but it will surely get you a better first baseman than someone who is going to look a lot like Yonder Alonso (with a few more homers) when he loses his speed.
Belt’s low HR numbers are due to the park, not lack of power. In a different ballpark he would have more HRs and fewer 2Bs and 3Bs. The XBHs are not from his speed, which is only decent overall, though very good for a guy his size, but from how his power translates to AT&T.
I could not disagree more of you opinion on defense at 1B. Yes , the position looked at in a vacuum does not make it seem important, but taken in context with team defense, is important. The Giants have one of, if not the best team IF defense, and that is due in a large part to Belt. He saves the other infielders a lot errors, and his throwing ability, from the left side cuts down on runners trying to advance. All you to have to do is look at how the Mets went from one of the best defensive IFs, to the worst in one year by signing Mo Vaughn, a total hack at 1B.
Belt is in no way comparable to Yonder Alonso. Alonso is a one-dimensional player that is only a year older than Belt. Unlike Alonso, Belt has multiple useful tools and has a career OPS+ 19 points higher than Alonso. Yes Belt strikes out too much, but that is essentially his only weakness.
Who is this magical catcher who would be available at 16MM? Catchers are really hard to develop/find etc. Posey is the best catcher in baseball, by far…16 Million is a 2-win player, maybe 2.5 wins. Belt has become a good defender and is a good hitter. His injuries have been of the freakish variety, not the chronic variety.
Brandon Belt was a 4 win player last year. That’s borderline all-star and probably should have been.
While having the flex opportunity would be nice re: Posey (and I agree, catching does not help) he’s still young and is going to want to catch. They could, in theory still move one of them to LF over time if they had to.
The system already has Susac, whose viewed as that next catcher for the purpose of potentially shifting Posey.
I think Belt’s seen as a “nice” player when people miss he’s actually an all star level 1B signing up at below market for 5 years (especially with salary inflation in this league where relievers get 10 a year).
I say this as someone who lives in the Bay and follows the team/used to split season tickets. I love the deal while assuming there will be some shift in the future.
Don’t see him being an all star with Goldy, Rizzo and Votto all locks when healthy. He’d have to compete with Freeman, Gonzalez, Duda and possibly Zimmerman in the next range and at 16 mill that’s not bad in comparison of what these guys make.
Hey now that the Giants have signed Belt and have established Posey behind the plate for the foreseeable future, what do you think the Braves would have to give up to get Susec ? I am in familiar with the Gisnts farm system are they lacking arms ? Could a Jenkins or maybe a bullpen arm like Withrow. As a Brave fan we need a catcher of the future.
Giants have a lot of low-to-medium upside arms close to the majors. Don’t think they’d have much interest in a backend starter / bullpen guy.
They’ve spent alot of $$$ but it’s for the good…I think the next move would be is to nab Gerrit Cole when he becomes eligible for FA. He’s a California guy and isn’t he engaged to Brandon Crawford s sister? SF would have an awesome rotation. Get him before LA gets him. I don’t see Cole being with the Pirates in the long run.
They’ll sign Gerrit cole when he becomes a FA.
The Giants have alot of good arms in their farm system, you just don’t hear about them because most 2-3 years away from the majors.
A decent outfielder would probably get that deal done. Trever Brown looks capable of backing up Posey so Susac should be on the trading block for sure.
Would take more than Susac for Inciarte though.
Agreed. Not sure why the Nraves would want to trade him though. Cheep, young, controlled and really good. That’s exactly what a rebuilding club should want to hold on to.
Do u mean to tell me that the Giants wouldn’t want anything from a top 3 farm system for a guy who is now obviously blocked and is major league ready to be a starter. Always shooting down proposals and not coming back with one. And I am sorry the reason the nobody has heard of any of the Giant minor league arms is because they are really not that good. Your farm system is weak so why wouldn’t a blocked catcher be able to pull in a prospect or 2 to put in the system or someone that can help the team in an area where they are weak.
The 19th ranked farm system could use somebody from a top 3 farm system for a guy that is blocked at the major league level. Or how bout come with a trade for one of our major leaguers how bout Inciarte he would def help when Span,Pagan and Pence all hit their yearly DL stint. But would def take more than Susac to get that done. Maybe one of those young arms nobody talks about that I can’t even find on a top 100 prospect list anywhere.
Yes, the Giants’ farm system is terrible. It only produced two new starting infielders over the past two years, one who is already an All Star and another who was NLROY runner-up. The rest of the infield plus the catcher are all home grown. Only the catcher was a blue chip prospect.
They don’t have splashy prospects, but they do know how to develop players. Well, they haven’t produced an All Star OF since Chili Davis. One day…
the giants have won 3 WS this decade. they’re doing something right. signing belt is a good move. you have a core group of players. I also think they’ll spend on Gerrit Cole once he becomes a FA. He’s a California guy and I think he’s dating Brandon Crawford’s sister. So I guess location and family favors the Giants. Get him before LA does.
If the Braves are looking for a catcher of the future I would suggest looking towards the Yankees. If Torrens comes back from his injury this year looking as good as he did previously I would think they would make Sanchez available. The Yankees need a solid 3rd base prospect and could definitely use a lhp or two. Torrens is still a couple of years away which will put him in a better time frame with McCann’s contract coming to an end. He is supposed to be a better catching prospect than Sanchez, as well. It all comes down to how well he comes back from the surgery. If he struggles they should hold on to Sanchez. If he picks up where he left off then Sanchez should be flipped to fill other holes.
Sorry to post this on a Giants thread. I just saw the comment about Susac possibly being traded to become the catcher of the future for Atlanta. Just wanted to through Sanchez into that mix.
You are absolutely right Sanchez has always been my first choice but every proposal I would say it would get shot down with no rebuttal. Just a whole lotta Yankees are not trading Sanchez your stupid. Which I think is dumb to have a top prospect catcher that is mlb ready that is blocked but is not available to a team with a top 3 farm system. But what do I know.
You’re right the Giants have no idea how to create major league talent from their farm system without having guys ranked in the top 100.
I don’t think Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Matt Duffy made a many top 100 prospect lists of any. You can probably add Joe Panik and Hunter Strickland to that list, Along with Susac. Though to be fair Gary Brown did make a few top 100 prospect lists so maybe they do have some merit?
Kidding aside I do see your point. I just don’t think it benefits the Giants to make any deal right now. They will play out the first 3rd of the season to see how the team they built in the offseason does and spend the middle part of the season adjusting for inconsistent play or injuries. Susac (when he is healthy) is a great addition to their current squad as the back-up catcher.
At this point I don’t see the Giants having any urgent holes to fill that would require them to trade Susac away. Not to say they can’t improve in places, there are just no current glaring spots.
Finally, and most important. Susac is hurt and if the Giants ever did trade him they would want to make sure he is healthy and producing to drive up his trade value and see Trevor Brown play well for a few more months to make sure they have a solid MLB caliber back up catcher.
As Kevin Millar said last year, Belt was a healthy year away from fulfilling the role of the great player he can be. You can’t beat his D at 1b with the offensive power he has. Plus the bunting ability! 😉
Again, I never said that I didn’t like Belt…I was just curious what real Giants fans take on this deal was considering that it impacts 2 positions and 3 players. (Belt, Posey, and Susac).
It seems that you guys are all pretty please with the extension and are all seemingly ok with Posey being behind the dish for the next 5 years.
If I were the Giants, I personally would be placing a higher level of priority to preserving Posey by putting him at first and seeing if Susac can be the real deal for an extended period of time. Heck, who knows, perhaps Belt even becomes trade bait a year or two down the road and they move Posey to 1B after all…we will just need to wait and see.
Belt in 2013 and 2015 (injured in 2014) was essentially the same hitter as Posey was in 2014 and 2015, except a year younger. The only thing that makes Posey incredible opposed to very good is that he’s a catcher, and an excellent one at that. There’s little sense on a purely performance level to preserve Posey in lieu of guy who is 92-102% of him at the same position.
I think the problem with what you’re thinking is, it’s based on the false premise that Posey’s value is mostly as a hitter. It’s not. His greatest value is as a catcher. It’s no coincidence that in the last 5 years when Posey was healthy they won the WS 3 times. The pitchers are given a lot of credit for those wins, but Posey is a huge contributor to the pitching game. What he does with the bat is gravy.
And while more than half the game is defense at catcher, the importance of defense is underrated at 1B. One of the nice aspects of Belt’s game is his arm, with the advantage of being a lefty. All you have to do is think back to Lucas Duda’s throw home to try and throw out Hosmer in last season’s WS to see how important a good throwing first baseman can be.
And one more thing. Posey is a future Hall of Fame catcher. He is not a future Hall of Fame first baseman.
I like the signing. We are trying our best to keep our core players or at least all. Brandon belt reminds me much of jtsnow not because the socks, remember the giants were going to put this guy in left field because of he had power. Belt played really good at first and hes defense is awesome. Belt saves us outs when he digs the balls out the grown when our infielders cant make them all the way. Belt makes a big difference in our team. Hes our lefty power hitter. The Giraffe.
Bye bye Andrew Susac!
What you want gor him ? I want Cirvelli next year as s free agent but if he can be had in a trade I wonder what you think it would cost ?
As a sfgiants a fan i was exiceted about hector sanchez, he was a goos catcher but could not replace posey, maybe the giants hide susac like they did with sanchez. I still say trade brown and keep susac, while brown has some value
Trevor Brown has no value, dumb ass. He’s been in the big leagues for like 6 games.
By that logic, no prospect anywhere has any value, as they haven’t been in the big leagues at all.
And no need to be rude and call people names, it’s baseball. Relax.
Let’s not get too carried away about Brown just yet. He looked the part in September and had a great spring training this year, but he hadn’t shown much bat in the minors to this point. No way is he ahead of Susac, yet.
steal of a deal…$6/mil yr less than what the Cubs are paying Heyward and they have nearly identical 162 game splits
financially speaking its a great deal for Giants; $6mil less than Heyward per year and nearly identical 162game splits