Few players excelled in their expected roles for the Blue Jays quite like Brandon Belt did this year. In fact, there's an argument to be made that he was the single most valuable one-year pickup this club made prior to the 2023 season.
Belt, 35, was quite the run-producer for the Jays, especially in the months of May and August, when he had a .940 and 1.033 OPS, respectively. On the season, he made it into over 100 games for the first time since 2019 and actually led the club in OPS+ with a 136 in the regular season.
If there's any real gripe for a Jays fan to have with Belt, it's the fact that he did not do very well in high-leverage spots this year ... at all. In fact, he was just 7-for-36 (.194 average) in these situations throughout the season and was one of the least "clutch" players the Jays had. While the crafty veteran seemed to always put together competitive at-bats, so few of them resulted in a positive outcome in the grand scheme of things.
At the beginning of September, Belt hopped on the Foul Territory podcast that's hosted by multiple former big league players like A.J. Pierzynski, Erik Kratz and Adam Jones, and suggested that he could be retiring at the end of the 2023 season. He cited the desire to spend more time with his family moving forward, and how can you blame him?
Should the 13-year veteran hang it up, he'll do so having accomplished everything a big leaguer could ask for. Since his debut in 2011, he made an All-Star Game and won two World Series rings. Most players are lucky to have a shot at just one ring throughout their entire career.
During his tenure in Toronto, Belt was very much a well-liked figure by Blue Jays fans. However, the fact that he could retire mixed with the presence of Spencer Horwitz, who plays the exact same position(s) as Belt and needs consistent playing time, likely means that we've seen the last of "Baby Giraffe" in a Jays uniform.