The Giants expect to welcome back their missing corner infield duo, manager Gabe Kapler told reporters, including Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. Barring a surprise, Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria will be back in action Thursday.
It’s generally promising not only that both players are now ready to roll but also that they only required the minimum necessary stay on the injured list. Belt has been working through a heel issue, while Longoria is nursing a mild oblique problem. It seems in both cases the team has nipped things in the bud.
While the Giants aren’t expected to make much noise in 2020, it’s easy to overlook how important the season is with respect to these players in particular. Both have been highly productive players in the past, which is why they’re earning so much now.
Belt is under contract for $16M annually in 2020 and 2021. Longoria is earning at a $15M rate this year before successive $18.5M and $19.5M salaries (as well as a 2023 club option that can be bought out for $5M, which the Rays will pay down by $3M).
The Giants will obviously be in much better shape to the extent that these two one-time sluggers can regain some of their former glory. That said, it may be be tough to move a significant portion of these contracts even in the best-case scenario.