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Brandon Belt and the Giants avoid arbitration

Feb 19, 2014, 7:53 AM EDT

Brandon Belt AP

Brandon Belt and the Giants avoided arbitration last night by agreeing to a one-year, $2.9 million contract. Belt had filed at $3.6 million and the Giants filed at $2.05 million, so they settled just above the $2.825 midpoint.

The kicker: Belt and the Giants representatives had already flown to Florida for the hearing that was scheduled for today. So I guess that gets him out of a morning workout and allowed him to catch up with whatever he has stored on his Kindle during the flight.

Belt hit .289/.360/.481 for the Giants last year. He turns 26 in April. Most people are comparing him to Freddie Freeman, who the Braves locked up to a nine-figure deal over the winter, and there was some hope among Giants fans that Belt would get a long-term deal. But given that Belt is a year and a half older, has about a season less under his belt and given that the Braves were under more financial pressure to lock up their first baseman than the Giants may be — and thus were under more pressure to back up the Brinks truck for Freeman —  it was pretty unlikely that Belt was going to get anything more than this one-year deal now. If he has another nice season like the one he just had, however, there’s a good chance he gets a long-term deal next year.

  1. bgrillz - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    I hope he grows again this year, and is locked up long term. He has a good eye at the plate, and can hit the gaps with power. Also a pretty solid defensive player as well.

  2. chiadam - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    Belt is a good player, but he’s no Freeman.

    • blabidibla - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      I don’t think Freeman is what most people believe him to be.

  3. zzalapski - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    If Belt continues his upward trajectory, the Giants should hope he has a short memory about how they hosed him in 2011 during their love affair with Aubrey Huff.

    • sisqsage - Feb 19, 2014 at 3:29 PM

      2011? Man, neither Belt or Huff could hit that year, which was a big reason the Giants just missed out on a wildcard spot.
      Belt simply wasn’t ready for the bigs in ’11 and Huff was having a lot of personal problems that just got worse and rendered him pretty useless as a ball player the rest of his stay in SF. Last year was when Belt started putting it together for a full season. One more good season and he gets the extension. He’s going to bat third in Bochy’s lineup, which means there’s no place to hide. He has to produce. He might get an extension before this season is over…if he produces. Freeman’s been a better player to this point, much more consistent and a tougher out. But Belt might have a higher ceiling. This year will tell a lot.

      • zzalapski - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        Belt got all of 49 ABs in April before being parked on the bench. It’s hard to get into a rhythm while playing sporadically.

        It’s easy to say now that Sabean shouldn’t have given Huff that big-money contract after his excellent 2010 season, but they should’ve at least recognized it as something that cannot be sustained and adjusted expectations accordingly, instead of watching him flail away on a daily basis for the first half of 2011.

    • temporarilyexiled - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:38 PM

      You can say all you want about the Huff contract. Sure, it was more public relations than a sound baseball move, but you have to remember, 2011 was coming off the first title in San Francisco…foreign territory. And there were even less proven homegrown players at that point.

      When I think about these kind of choices, I become more concerned with the Giants’ position-player development in general. Not too many homegrown success stories, at least until more recently…sort of…

      It says here Belt does very well this year and gets a good deal for him…and for the team.

      Hope I’m right. :)

  4. stex52 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    Giants are getting a deal for 2014. I’m sure they know it. I would be thinking hard about some kind of lock down.

  5. temporarilyexiled - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Belt is a VERY GOOD defensive player. His offense has been spotty until recently. In hindsight, it’s hard to blame management for how they’ve treated him. Maybe this is the year where his offense matches his defense, and he becomes quite the bargain. I’m sure the Giants want him to do well and will sign him to a longer deal with a little more proof that he’s become a complete player.

  6. riverace19 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Freeman is overrated, Belt underrated. Freeman starts faster and Belt slower and that’s what people remember.

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