I've always been a big fan of Brandon Belt. Part of it was from always enjoying the San Francisco Giants, not rooting for them, just enjoying their baseball. The other part was he always seemed to rake in MLB The Show, so he stuck in my head as a good hitter. He's getting up there in age, and this is going to be his 14th season as he turns 36, but he can still hit. I think he would be a great signing in Free Agency for the Mariners.
I'm not saying this needs to be the big move, or the only move, or anything wild like that. This would fall more in line with a platoon type add in the mold of the AJ Pollock signing from last season. Obviously we would all want him to do better than Pollock, and it's nigh impossible to do worse, but I think getting him some time at DH and 1B would be a big addition to the team.
The Mariners should offer Brandon Belt a 2YR/$12M contract in Free Agency
Maybe it's just one year, and that would be fine as well, giving him a $1YR/$6M. That would be a bit above what Evan Longoria got (1YR/$4M) and the same deal that Matt Carpenter got with the Padres. I know Spotrac has his projected market value lower, but I don't see him going for that little as a decent power bat that walks a lot with a good average.
His K rate was up a lot last year, and that's worrisome, especially on a team that already does it a lot. The 34.9% mark was around 10 points higher than his average over the last decade, so I would expect a bit of a drop there, getting back in the high 20% range. He walks a lot, with a 13.1% rate over the last decade and a mark of 15.1% last season, so he gets on base quite often.
If we can get anything similar to the production he put up in Toronto last year, or the last three years with the Giants, I think the contract is a win. He hit .254/.369/.490 across 339 AB last season, belting 19 homers and hitting 23 doubles and a 136 OPS+. It's very similar to the last three years with the Giants when he hit .270/.370/.510. Yeah, it's a bit down from his 141 OPS+ mark, but still a very strong showing.
He hasn't been a full-time player the last three seasons, so I don't think that would be a focus or need anymore. You could sign him with the expectation to possibly pinch-hit late, playing DH occasionally, and giving France (or whoever is at First) an off day once in a while. You can still get to about 300 AB that way and do it for a good price.
If we could get 300 AB, 13 HR, a .250/.360/.470 slash line for only $6 million? I think we need to jump on something like that. You could hit him solely against righties, letting France focus on lefties and just face righties once in a while, where he struggled last season with just a .240/.341/.357 slash line, as opposed to hitting lefties at a .280/.325/.393. Not much better, but was still clearly the best side.
If this was the tertiary move that the Mariners made this offseason, I think it would be a fantastic acquisition, and one that would greatly help this team in both their offensive capabilities and their depth. I'd love to see Brandon Belt on the Mariners.