San Francisco Giants Lock Up First Baseman Brandon Belt With New Extension
The San Francisco Giants took another step forward in securing their home-grown talent by locking up starting first baseman Brandon Belt to a new six-year extension worth approximately $73 million. The deal will keep Belt in a Giants uniform through the 2021 season and pay him $16 million annually starting in 2018. Belt’s extension is the second the Giants handed out to a home-grown talent as they re-upped starting shortstop Brandon Crawford to a very similar deal earlier this offseason. Extending Belt and Crawford will keep the Giants infield intact for the recent future.
For his career, entering his sixth season all with the Giants, Belt has a triple-slash of .271/.348/.455 with 497 Hs, 249 Rs, 116 2Bs, 63 HRs, 237 RBIs, 32 SBs, and an .802 OPS in 1834 at-bats. Belt also flashes an above-average glove defensively at first base.
The Giants and Belt have been working on an extension for some time now. There was hope that an extension would be reached during spring training, and you can even take it further back when talks of an extension initially started in spring training of 2015. While most assumed a deal would get worked out eventually between the two sides, there was some thought if a deal could ever get reached. There was also a thought that the Giants weren’t that interested in extending Belt unless it was at a price the Giants were comfortable with due to Belt’s recent injury history with concussions, and the likelihood that by extending Belt, you are essentially leaving your franchise player in Buster Posey at catcher for the foreseeable future. Some question whether leaving Posey at catcher for the majority of his career is the best path for him, but Posey has remained adamant that he is a catcher and wants to stay behind the plate for as long as his health will allow him. This void of confidence is what also fueling extension talks between the Giants and Belt as well.
The 27-year old Belt is one of many home-grown talents to come up through the Giants organization. A 5th-round draft pick by the Giants in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft from the University of Texas, Belt was a highly-touted prospect that moves quickly through the Giants minor league system. There were high hopes that Belt would develop into an All-Star caliber first baseman; a player with monster power who hit for average and played gold-glove defense. While Belt hasn’t quite been that player, he’s been very good and worthy of his new contract extension. He has yet to crack 20+ homers in a season, but he is still young enough to go down into the well and un-tap the rest of that potential many fans and the Giants organization hope he has left.