Toronto Blue Jays Sign Brandon Belt to One-Year Deal

The Toronto Blue Jays continue to add to their roster, with the club reportedly adding veteran Brandon Belt on a one-year deal.

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 14: Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on May 14, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays are set to add to their active roster in the near future, as San Francisco Chronicle writer Susan Slusser is reporting that the Jays are going to be signing former Giants infielder Brandon Belt to a one-year deal.

The physical has already been completed as per Slusser and the first baseman is healthy after right knee troubles limited him to just 78 games last year. Kaitlyn McGrath at The Athletic is reporting that the deal is reportedly worth $9.3 million.

One of the lone remaining members from the 2014 Giants World Series squad, Belt owns a .261/.356/.458 slash line through his career with 175 home runs, a .814 OPS, and a 27.6 bWAR across 12 seasons. Drafted by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2009 MLB Draft, Belt has only suited up for San Francisco since his rookie debut back in 2011, sitting seventh in walks (617) in the franchise record books and tied for 10th in regards to his home run tallies.

A lefty-batter, Belt owns a career .840 OPS against RHP with a .477 slugging through 1198 games while also posting solid numbers against southpaws, which includes 156 RBI to the tune of a .748 OPS through 1217 at-bats.

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Defensively, Belt has spent the majority of his career at first base with some spot starts in the corner outfield positions, primarily early in his career. On the right side of the diamond, Belt owns a .994 fielding percentage with just 59 errors, amassing a 51 DRS through 1192 games. His fielding ability took a hit last season, posting a -9 DRS through 68 games, but he also struggled to stay healthy, which likely played a role.

For the 2023 season, the Texas product will take over first base when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. needs a rest day and also slot in as the designated hitter on occasion as well when a right-hander is on the mound.

The Toronto Blue Jays Add More Left-Handed Depth

For the Blue Jays, adding Belt gives the squad another lefty-bat to insert into the lineup alongside Kevin Kiermaier, Daulton Varsho, and Cavan Biggio (as per the current roster). While the signing has not been made official yet, the Blue Jays also have a full 40-man roster, so someone will need to be removed in order to add Belt to the roster. Prior to the Belt signing, the likely candidate to back up Guerrero Jr. at first base was Biggio, who found himself at first 33 times last season.

This signing raises some questions in regards to whether the club may be open to trading Biggio or Santiago Espinal prior to Opening Day, as both players could help the Jays create a trade package (or potentially on their own) to land another starting pitcher to help stabilize the rotation or potentially a right-handed outfielder that could fit in alongside the current core (unless the front office decides to explore an Andrew McCutchen or Robbie Grossman signing as well).

This deal will also likely be the nail in the coffin when it comes to going over the Competitive Balance Tax, as they were hovering around the $233 million mark prior to the final arbitration numbers but the $9.3 million reportedly owed to Belt will push them past regardless.

Regardless of what takes place from now until late March, the Blue Jays are set to add another veteran lefty-bat to help them reach the postseason and beyond in 2023.

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