Giants first baseman Brandon Belt is headed for another MRI on his right knee and is unlikely to return in 2018, manager Bruce Bochy announced to reporters (Twitter link via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area). It’s likely that Belt will ultimately require surgery to repair the knee.
Belt, 30, becomes the latest notable Giants player to go down with a season-ending injury, joining Johnny Cueto, Buster Posey, Steven Duggar and Jeff Samardzija in that onerous distinction. He’s faded badly at the plate in recent months after a torrid start to the season that saw him mash at a torrid .307/.403/.547 pace through June 1 before landing on the disabled list to undergo an appendectomy. He homered in his second game back from that DL trip but has struggled immensely overall, turning in a miserable .203/.283/.290 slash through 230 plate appearances.
It’s a disappointing finish to what looked to be a potential breakout campaign for Belt just a few months ago. While he’s long been a decidedly above-average (and at times, even great) hitter, the first two months of Belt’s season were elite (156 wRC+ — which is to say that his overall line was 56 percent better than that of a league-average hitter after being adjusted for home park and league).
Belt is in the second season of a five-year extension worth more than $70MM guaranteed, and he’ll earn $16MM in each of the next three seasons. He’s managed just 216 games over the first two seasons of that contract, as he’s been limited by a pair of concussions in addition to his hyper-extended knee and appendectomy.