Five Teams Who Should Have Signed Brandon Belt Already

First basemen and DHs around the league are underachieving this year. Yet, Brandon Belt remans unemployed. Here are 5 teams that should have signed him already.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - AUGUST 24: Brandon Belt #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on after grounding out against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 24, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)

For reasons unknown, there’s been a major power outage at first base and designated hitter this year around Major League Baseball. Entering the day, there are only eight teams have DHs hitting .250 or higher, while only 11 have a .320 or higher OBP. First basemen are at 14 and 14, respectively.

Many of the usual suspects like Matt Olson, Spencer Torkelson, Ty France, Andrew Vaughn and Paul Goldschmidt have had rough starts to kick off the year.

While all of this is happening, one of the more productive options remains unemployed on the free agent market.

Last year, two-time World Series winner Brandon Belt appeared in over 100 games for the first time since 2019, suiting up for the Toronto Blue Jays. The 13-year veteran had one of his most productive (full) seasons that he’d had in quite some time, hitting 19 home runs with 43 RBI, posting an .858 OPS and 136 OPS+ along the way.

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Platooning with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at both first base and designated hitter ended up working out nicely for Belt, who still missed some time with various injuries, but was able to piece together a full and productive year.

Somehow, Belt was unable to find a job this offseason. The most recent reports out of his camp were that he didn’t want to retire and that some teams were calling him, but only as a backup plan. Turns out, every single organization that was looking at him landed their No. 1 target and never circled back around.

Let’s take a look around the league and determine which teams could use Belt in their lineup.

Which MLB teams could use Brandon Belt in their lineup?

Houston Astros

Virtually nobody will be surprised at this pick. The Astros have Yordan Alvarez penciled in as their designated hitter/left fielder and he’s going to play every single day. However, 32-year-old journeyman Jon Singleton is at the top of the big league depth chart at first base.

Jose Abreu was supposed to be the club’s primary option there, but he’s been, well, dreadful this season. The 37-year-old hit .099 in 22 games before requesting a demotion to Triple-A so he can get things sorted out. He’ll be back, and Singleton’s hitting nukes for now, but Belt would give the club a steady veteran presence that is desperately needed.

San Francisco Giants

Who doesn’t love a good reunion story? Belt spent the first 12 years of his career here, making an All-Star team and bringing home multiple World Series rings. He’s a beloved figure in the Bay Area and would fit well on a roster that’s full of underperformers.

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LaMonte Wade Jr. is the everyday first baseman and Wilmer Flores has been the primary DH. While Wade is looking like an All-Star, Flores is floundering. In 38 games, the 12-year veteran has a .207 average and .577 OPS. He’s always been a lefty masher but he hasn’t even done that this year. Signing Belt would add a much needed left-handed bat to the lineup now that Jung Hoo Lee and Michael Conforto are on the shelf.

Pittsburgh Pirates

This one would involve the Pirates moving on from Rowdy Tellez, who is a very similar player to Belt and has been struggling mightily this year. Tellez, 29, is on a one-year, $3.2M contract so cutting him would not be a significant blow to the financials over in Pittsburgh. He’s hitting .176 through 42 games and has barely looked like a big league hitter.

Pirates first basemen are 19th in the game in wRC+ (95) and 20th in OPS (.686), while their DHs are 13th in wRC+ (107) and OPS (.721). Can you spot the fit for Belt?

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are always contenders in a tough AL East division, but they’ve been mediocre so far this year, sitting at 23-22. Yandy Diaz, their primary first baseman and leadoff hitter, hasn’t quite hit like he has in years past, but he’s gradually beginning to turn things around.

Harold Ramirez, who’s getting the majority of the playing time at DH, is sitting at a 75 OPS+ and is having troubles getting on base in virtually any way. Belt would be a significant upgrade over him and would fit nicely alongside some of the other big boppers in this lineup. His ability to get on base would go a long way to helping this Rays team back to contention.

Kansas City Royals

The final team on this list took some thinking. The Red Sox, Angels and Reds all could use Belt as well, but none of them are using Adam Frazier as their primary DH against right-handed pitching.

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Over in Kansas City, the club relies heavily on platoons, so Nelson Velazquez gets to DH against left-handers and that’s a role that’s been working for him. However, Frazier is a light-hitting utilityman who has no business DH-ing with any regularity. Putting Belt in there against right-handers almost makes too much sense. He’d fit perfectly on this underdog Royals team that is right in the thick of things over in the AL Central.