The San Francisco Giants have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Brandon Belt, thus avoiding the arbitration process for the tenth consecutive year. All of the beat writers tweeted it out within a couple minutes of each other, which means they probably got a text from Bobby Evans or someone else in the front office. A few minutes after the contract was reported, the dollar amount followed.
#SFGiants and Belt settled at $2.9 million, just above midpoint of $2.825 million.
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) February 19, 2014
That counts as a win for Belt. It’s not a huge win, but Belt will probably have an extra bounce to his step when he walks into Scottsdale Stadium for the team’s first full workout tomorrow morning. Or tomorrow afternoon if Belt’s flight to Arizona is delayed, since Belt had to make the trip to Florida in case a hearing was necessary.
And with that, my post about Belt’s potential arbitration case is rendered meaningless. We’re also going to miss out on juicy stories about how the Giants and Belt screamed at each other in some windowless room in St. Petersburg.
Or, perhaps that’s going to Bravo-level depths to boost drama through artificial means. Maybe the negotiations were never contentious, but the Giants are actually interested in locking Belt up for multiple years and it was taking too long for both sides to agree on years and dollars.
Now Belt enters the season as the probable No. 3 hitter in front of a motivated Buster Posey. With reports that Hector Sanchez has lost a considerable amount of weight since last season, Bruce Bochy may be even more tempted than usual to give Posey some time at first.
This is the part when 60% of the fans (give or take) throw their phone/computer/tablet on the ground and utter a few choice curse words.
Belt always seems to mash in Spring Training. He was one of the Cactus League’s best hitters last season. We should probably expect to see more of the same this Spring at the plate, but it’ll be interesting to see how often we see him in left field. If he ends up going to arbitration a year from now, having multi-positional experience on his resume couldn’t hurt.
Good point about the reason why it took so long, trying to get a long term deal signed, but if that was so, then why not pre-agree to the $2.9M deal - should the LT deal not get done - before sending Belt off to Florida for the arbitration meeting and have him miss the first day of spring training? Not arguing, but wondering and like I started off with, good point, I'm hoping you might have further insight.
$2.9 mil is a STEAL for Belt. I only wish the Giants had more quality position players under financial control, like they had with the pitching staff in the beginning. I look at players like Josh Reddick of the A's, and Brandon Belt over here...high caliber players who even with raises, are absolute bargains for their clubs. Reddick made $500k, and got a raise to $2.7 mil. Shows the importance of a strong farm club, and good evaluation of young talent.
There may be Belt haters out there, but he is solid, and improving. Nick Swisher for $16 mil? Adam LaRoche for $12 mil? Adam Lind for $7mil? I'll take Belt at $2.9 in a landslide. A rare case of praise for Sabean's young talent evaluation. Now, can he get this same type of up talented/financially affordable up and comer for LF, 2B, and 3B?
Oh, also, found confirmation, but Bochy has been saying all off-season that he wants Belt to play 150+ games at first base, so I would not worry about Hanchez's svelte figure factoring into more Posey starts at 1B. It might factor into more Posey off-days, though, particularly in August and September if the Giants have a good lead, so that Posey is well rested going into the playoffs. And maybe more Posey DH duties when playing at AL parks, so that they can keep his bat in the lineup while giving Hanchez more starts catching.
@ogc belt still has some more arbitration years left. I think it would be good to avoid this arbitration mess. Maybe something like 3 yrs/$15M...around 5M would be a bargain
@ogc I'm going to posit that Freddie Freeman's new deal complicated things regarding a long term deal for Belt. As it is, Belt is still under team control for several more seasons, so it's not like he's going anywhere else soon.
@Eric Sure, it's a steal, but listing all those salaries without context makes that so.
Belt is a Super-Two arbitration eligible player, controlled by his team, and the structure of baseball economics makes all players controlled by their team to be "steals" in a general way, it is acknowledged that the team is getting a huge discount in terms of salary during the 6-7 years they control a MLB player, though it gets less and less as he nears free agency.
All those players you named were free agents (though is Lind in the last of his arbitration years?), and therefore getting market value (or close to it) for their talents. Belt might get those amounts if he were a free agent, but because the team controls his rights, he gets much less. And as a Super-Two, even less, though more than most players with two years experience, who are still getting near the MLB minimum, generally, even the stars.
Still, $2.9M is plenty of money for most people, Belt is not going to starve going forward, unless he's like Jack Clark and blow it all on cars, and be forced to wear Dodger Blue for the money.
Is it possible that Belt did not want to be referenced with A.J. Pierzynski, the last Giant to have to win his arbitration hearing.
@carmenkiew iLife's this one
@carmenkiew I grew tired of the Olive Garden angle back in April when the subject du jour was Belt's ailing digestive system.
@T @ogc I did know that he has more arbitration years left (3 to be exact, at the moment). I recall Baggerly estimating 3 years, $21M in his chat today. I would like to get some of his free agent years, much like Bumgarner, if possible, too.
@jay @ogc I agree, the Giants were probably hoping to get a Bumgarner-like price on a multiyear deal for Belt and the Freeman deal destroyed any chances of that happening. Since they went slightly over the midway point on the one-year contract, I think the Giants were hoping to keep Belt's salary down for future arbitration years while letting him know that he's a valued member of the organization.
@ogc Ha ha! I like the Cust comment....
Context aside, I would not want any of those players at those salaries. I would not want Belt at $12 - $16 mil per year right now, but he is showing flashes of being the first baseman of the future. At some point the Giants will have to pony up, but if Belt does not improve to be more consistent, then I would hope there was another solid, arbitration eligible guy behind him in the pipeline. That is big part of a good farm system.
I would argue that many arbitration eligible players are not really steals. More like place fillers. Guys like Daric Barton of Oakland come to mind, possibly Michael Taylor. Decent, not really good, but even if they did become All-Stars, the A's would never pay them. The Giants will pay guys that are proven to produce through their arbitration years, and they can let go guys that don't pan out. What do the Giants do with Morse if he has a good year, and stays healthy? Sign him to a $20 mil, two year deal? THIS year is low risk, but the future is very high risk. I wish the Giants had a solid arbitration eligible player to plug in there and have him develop. The Giants problem is that too many position players don't pan out. Its not like they aren't shuttling piles of guys through to try them out in the meantime. They just don't work out to the potential that was expected.
@T I love Pagan...beside the fact he got hurt, he has intangibles, is a catalyst, and a good player.
@BASportsGuy no gifs? No lovesac? What the hell kind of journalist are you
@Bay Area Sports Guy @jay That makes a lot of sense, both that Freeman's deal probably blew up whatever hopes that the Giants had of coming to agreement on a deal plus drove Belt's side away from the negotiating table so that they could assess what the deal meant for their client, exactly. And that's a good point about letting him know he's valued, without giving up the farm and giving in on the salary.