Blue Jays To Sign Brandon Belt

7:58pm: Belt is assured $9.3MM, studies Kaitlyn McGrath of the Athletic (on Twitter).

7:51pm: The Blue Jays are signing Brandon Belt to a one-year contract, studies Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter hyperlink). The veteran heads to Toronto after spending his total profession as a member of the Giants.

A fifth-round choose by San Francisco in 2009, Belt reached the majors two seasons later. He performed in 63 video games as a rookie and took maintain of the first first base job by his second season. Belt was a key contributor on San Francisco’s 2012 World Series staff, hitting .275/.360/.421 over 145 video games. Injuries restricted him to 61 common season contests in the course of the 2014 season however he was wholesome sufficient to contribute to San Francisco’s third title in 5 years that postseason.

Belt battled intermittent harm points all through the approaching years. When wholesome, nevertheless, he was a constantly productive offensive participant. While San Francisco’s pitcher-friendly dwelling ballpark depressed his over-the-fence energy, he was an annual risk for 30+ doubles and posted large on-base numbers because of huge stroll charges. At the beginning of the 2016 season, the Giants inked Belt to a $72.8MM extension that saved him off the open market by means of the 2021 marketing campaign. He adopted up with a .275/.394/.474 displaying by means of 655 journeys to the plate, incomes his solely profession All-Star nod within the course of.

The Texas product noticed his manufacturing tail off a bit over the subsequent few seasons, hitting at a barely above-average degree by means of 2019. He rebounded in an enormous method in 2020, mashing at a .309/.425/.591 clip to safe some-ballot MVP assist in the course of the shortened season. He continued to mash the next season however noticed that yr regularly interrupted by harm. Belt misplaced time to a left indirect pressure and soreness in his proper knee however managed a .274/.378/.597 displaying whereas shattering his earlier profession mark with 29 dwelling runs in simply 97 video games. Unfortunately, an errant pitch fractured his left thumb late within the season and he wasn’t capable of take part in San Francisco’s playoff run.

In advance of what was set to be Belt’s first journey to free company, the Giants tagged him with an $18.9MM qualifying provide. He accepted and returned to the Bay Area for an additional season. Injuries once more proved problematic, this time seemingly having a deleterious impact on his efficiency even when he did handle to take the sector. Belt had a trio of IL stints final season and whereas the primary was a really temporary stint associated to COVID-19, the latter two have been extra worrisome. He misplaced round three weeks between May and June as a result of irritation in his balky proper knee and that once more arose in mid-August.

After his second knee-related IL placement, the 12-year veteran elected to close issues down and bear season-ending surgical procedure. It was the third surgical process he’d undergone on that knee. Belt acknowledged he would possibly ponder retirement if restoration did not go properly, however he instructed reporters a couple of weeks later that he felt revitalized by the operation.

The accidents despatched him to the open market coming off arguably his worst season and heading into his age-35 marketing campaign. He hit .213/.326/.350 by means of 298 journeys to the plate. Belt nonetheless walked at a wonderful 12.4% clip however noticed his energy manufacturing drop. He managed eight dwelling runs and posted a career-low .138 ISO (slugging minus batting common). Belt’s 38.5% exhausting contact charge, whereas nonetheless a bit higher than common, was markedly down from his 2020-21 ranges.

Toronto clearly believes that diminished manufacturing was a symptom of the accidents, which the membership can hope will not be as worrisome after final summer time’s surgical procedure. If Belt can recapture any of his earlier type, he’ll add a high quality left-handed bat to a predominantly right-handed lineup. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would be the on a regular basis first baseman. Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk determine to get a good variety of designated hitter at-bats when the opposite is within the lineup at catcher. Everyone in that group hits from the fitting aspect, so Belt provides some stability to the combination. None of these gamers will probably be strictly relegated to the quick aspect of a platoon by Belt however he provides one other high-upside offensive possibility for skipper John Schneider.

It’s a short-term deal however it’s not an insignificant dedication. Tacking on Belt’s $9.3MM wage brings Toronto’s projected 2023 payroll a bit above $212MM, as calculated by Roster Resource. That shatters final yr’s approximate $171MM dedication, which had been a franchise file. More notably, it firmly positions the Jays as seemingly luxurious tax payers for the primary time in franchise historical past. The franchise is up round $242MM in tax obligations, in keeping with Roster Resource. After coming into the evening inside a rounding error of the bottom threshold of $233MM, they’re pushing properly previous it to usher in some extra offensive assist.

A staff’s CBT quantity is formally tabulated on the finish of the season, so the entrance workplace might theoretically search for methods to dip again beneath the road. That appears unlikely because the Jays battle for what they hope will probably be their first AL East title in eight years. Toronto boasts one of many league’s finest lineups however might nonetheless search for assist behind the rotation or within the bullpen over the subsequent couple of months.

The Blue Jays can pay a 20% tax on their first $20MM in CBT overages. They’re set to tackle round $1.84MM in charges on account of this signing, which means their precise dedication to usher in Belt is nearer to $11MM. If they surpass the $253MM mark from a tax perspective, they’d be taxed at a 30% charge on these overages. Going previous $273MM would include additional penalties.

More to return.

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