3 Blue Jays pending free agents who should be brought back and 1 who should not

As free agency approaches at the end of the season, who should the Blue Jays bring back and who should be let go?
Kevin Kiermaier, Whit Merrifield
Kevin Kiermaier, Whit Merrifield / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Brandon Belt

In the case of Brandon Belt, the majority of people wanted him gone at the start of the season when he struggled mightily coming out of the gate with his new team. Unbelievably, the 13-year veteran was striking out practically half of the time whenever he came to the plate and was even hitting below .100 at one point in time. But given his track record, where he has hit close to .260 while averaging close to 20 home runs and 70 RBI per season, the Jays strongly believed he would eventually work out of his tremendous slump.

As shown from time and time again, patience is a virtue, as Belt has turned his season around completely and has become a key contributor to the ballclub. For the 2023 season, he has compiled a solid .254 batting average, with a strong .849 OPS, along with 46 runs scored, 22 doubles, 15 home runs and 37 RBI. In particular, he has been an unstoppable force for the ballclub currently down the stretch with some key clutch hits to help lead the team to success.

Looking ahead, some may believe that the Jays may be better off in promoting someone like Spencer Horwitz from within the organization to take the place of Belt for next season. But one has to remember, Horwitz is still an unproven commodity despite his recent breakout year in the Jays’ minor league system. However, Belt is already a proven commodity, along with his added leadership and wealth of experience which included three postseason runs and two World Series championships under his belt. Also, at his age and current playing status as he winds down his career, the Jays should be able to bring him back on a short-term deal while giving him all the opportunity to capture another World Series ring before his eventual retirement.