Brandon Belt has until November 17 to decide on whether to accept or reject the $18.4M qualifying offer from the Giants, but the club isn’t just twiddling their thumbs in the meantime. Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports that they met with his representatives today and “discussed several contract formats.”
After a down year in 2019, Belt has been one of the best hitters on the planet for the past couple years. Over the past two seasons, he has hit .285/.393/.595, producing a wRC+ of 163, which is third-best in MLB among those with at least 550 plate appearances, trailing only Juan Soto and Bryce Harper. However, the first baseman, who turns 34 in April, has been often limited by injuries. Only one of his past five campaigns saw him get into more than 112 games, and it happened to be that down year in 2019. In 2021, it was just 97 games. Still, the production is strong enough that the Giants are happy to retain him, as evidenced by the extension of the QO, but also on whatever type of multi-year deal they discussed today.
A few months ago, the club extended their other Brandon for two-years and $32M, which could perhaps be the type of deal they’re offering Belt now, slightly less money than the QO on an annual basis, but over a longer term. MLBTR recently predicted that Belt would accept the QO and try to re-enter the market a year from now, after he has hopefully had better health and seen the NL implement the DH.
Baggarly also reports that the club met with representatives for righty Anthony DeSclafani and discussed multi-year deals for him. Zaidi has already made it clear that the rotation is the “number one priority“, which makes a lot of sense given that it currently consists of just Logan Webb, on account of DeSclafani reaching free agency, as well as Kevin Gausman, Alex Wood and Johnny Cueto. DeSclafani, 32 in April, had a miserable season for the Reds in 2020 but righted the ship nicely in 2021. After being picked up by the Giants, he tossed 167 2/3 innings with an ERA of 3.17. MLBTR, in the same pieced linked above, recently predicted he would garner three years and $42M, an annual average value of $14M.
But the Giants aren’t just considering their departing free agents, of course. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that they have interest in Seiya Suzuki, who is expected to be posted for MLB teams soon. Baggarly quotes Zaidi as saying that a right-handed hitting outfielder like Suzuki “kind of fits our team.” That’s a bit of an understatement, as their current outfield skews heavily the other way, with Mike Yastrzemski, LaMonte Wade Jr., Steven Duggar and Alex Dickerson all hitting from the left side and Austin Slater being the most notable righty. Kris Bryant, who hits right-handed, was brought into the mix at the trade deadline but is now a free agent.
MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk recently wrote about the Giants as part of the Offseason Outlook series and noted that they are lined up to be one of the busiest teams this winter, given their multiple openings and limited payroll commitments. Zaidi and the rest of his team are sure to explore each and every opportunity to add to their team this winter, and all indications point to them already doing just that.