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Giants name Brandon Belt starting first baseman

Mar 30, 2011, 7:49 PM EDT

belt pose Getty Images

Here’s some big (but somewhat expected) news out of San Francisco…

According to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News, the Giants have informed top prospect Brandon Belt that he will open the year as the club’s starting first baseman. Aubrey Huff is going to move out to right field for the time being and the situation will be reevaluated once Cody Ross returns from his right calf strain.

Belt, 22, was rated baseball’s 22nd most promising prospect by Baseball America this winter after slugging 23 home runs and tallying 112 RBI across 136 minor league games last season.

He hit .282/.338/.479 with three home runs and five doubles in 71 at-bats this spring.

Giants skipper Bruce Bochy told Andrew Baggarly, also of the Mercury News, that Belt teared up upon getting the good word and called it the “best day of my life, besides my wedding.”

  1. purdueman - Mar 30, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Giants are smart, they’ll now eat the remaining $24M on the ill fated Aaron Rowand FA signing. Rowand’s been god-awful this spring, continues to fight moving to a corner outfield position (even though he’s not a natural center fielder whose lack of speed had finally caught up with him), and he’s blocking a couple of younger guys who need to be doing “OJT”, not proving anything that they already haven’t rotting down in AAA ball.

    The Giants need to simply chalk up the Rowand signing like the Angels equally ill fated Matthews Jr. signing and just resign themselves to the fact that they only got one decent year and a bunch of diminishing returns afterwards, and it’s simply time to turn the page, cut their losses and move on.

    • donniebb23 - Mar 30, 2011 at 8:33 PM

      Couldn’t they just have easily ate Rowand’s contract starting in 2 weeks rather than now? Keeping Belt down in AAA for 2 weeks would have given them an extra year of arbitration on him, thus another year of price control. While I love that they’re showing so much faith in him I think that would have been the smarter move.

      • purdueman - Mar 30, 2011 at 9:03 PM

        Great post, donnie…! I couldn’t agree with you more, but trying to get the owners to sign off on eating the remaining big contract that Rowand has when he’s not someone who seeks constantly to loaf on the DL (like a JD Drew for example), I’m sure is the big obstacle.

        By holding on to Rowand until the last possible moment, I’m sure that the Giants were hoping that there would be either a major injury or major disappointment in someone elses’ camp that would at least yield SOME return.

        Now the buzz is that even if the Giants release Rowand, he’ll likely have to go back to AAA in order to prove that he still has enough gas left in the tank to earn a spot on a major league roster. Good hardnosed, over achieving, always hustling guy, but fighting to stay above the Mendoza line and then openly grousing about changing positions (in this case from CF to LF), is simply more than enough of a reason to cut the cord now.

      • paperlions - Mar 31, 2011 at 7:10 AM

        Except that it won’t give them an extra year of cost control because so few good young players actually go through the annual arbitration processes; and most will sign a longer-term deal to get financial security rather than risk injury or declining performance before reaching FA. If Belt is anywhere near as good as everyone thinks he is, then in a couple of year the Giants will be trying to sign him to a long-term deal that will cover all of his arbitration years and one or two more beyond that.

      • sayheykidwschamp - Mar 31, 2011 at 11:03 AM

        I think your concern for Arbi years makes sense because if Belt is as good as advertised, he will command a generous salary…comparisons to Will Clark or left handed Posey will be a challenge Belt is ready to take. But the Giants are also in a very competitive division and won by 1 game last year. So the division did not get any easier this year so every game will count.

        And since the Giants won last year, sales revenues have been over flowing. I think they believe that by creating more fan buzz with players like Belt, Buster, Sandoval, Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez…and continuing to win on a yearly basis, the revenues will justify adding Belt without concern for Arbi years. If this were the Giants of pre-2009, Sabean and Bochy would never have allowed Belt to start from day 1, but would get ‘seasoning’ in AAA. But Buster crashed through the doors and Belt had an easier time to get through.

      • purdueman - Mar 31, 2011 at 2:03 PM

        sayhey… can’t really compare anyone to Will Clark. I don’t think that we’ll ever see another baseball player who spits more or scratches his crotch more than Will did. He’s in a class by himself in that regard… a true Hall of Famer!

  2. skerney - Mar 30, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    The Giants have to put their best team on the field. Belt makes that happen. Eating cash and arbitration down the road is a secondary concern. They will have a payroll well over $100 million dollars then. The Giants start the season with a grueling road schedule, waiting two weeks to put their best team on the field could make them play catch up the rest of the first half. Rowand should never make another start in a Giants uniform and Schierholtz will relive Huff in later innings. This is a risky, tough call but 100% the right one.

  3. purdueman - Mar 30, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    Check out this weblink. If this isn’t across the board spot on, I don’t know what is! I can’t stand starting pitchers who turn into “the human rain delay” on the mound, and don’t know why Selig continues to allow it. De Ford is spot on too! I’m done after 2:45 into an MLB game and am ready to go home.

    • purdueman - Mar 30, 2011 at 9:07 PM

      Whoops! I’m bad!

      Here’s the link: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/frank_deford/03/30/baseball.wasting.time.ap/index.html

      • clydeserra - Mar 31, 2011 at 1:35 AM

        Well, before I, as a meddling kid, get off Mr. Deford’s lawn, I hope he realizes that that wouild cut about a minute out of a game. You know what would cut 5 minutes off a game? one less commercial per break. or how about a minute? that’s 10 minutes.

        then ban pitching changes in an inning. cutting out another commercial break opportunity.

        BAM 1/2 hour savings.

        Good luck getting the networks/teams/mlb to agree to that.

        Give it up Deford, its about the money like always, not Nomar Gariapara, Miguel Batista or toby harrah.

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