The signing of Brandon Belt
In addition to Kiermaier, the crafty veteran Brandon Belt has also turned out to be a key signing by the Jays this past offseason. Belt had spent his entire career with the San Francisco Giants, so nobody knew how he would perform once away from the only team he had been with. Added to the fact that he was coming off season-ending knee surgery from the previous season, any outcome was potentially possible, good or bad, once he joined the Jays in 2023.
Initially, things did not start off smoothly as Belt would endure in one of his worst slumps of his professional baseball career at the plate to start the season. This included striking out at close to a 50% rate during a stretch at one point in time. Luckily, he was able to turn things completely around in rapid fashion starting in May and he certainly hasn’t looked back since then. For the 2023 season, Belt has compiled a .252 batting average, along with an .852 OPS, 52 runs scored, 23 doubles, 18 home runs and 42 RBI, providing the much-needed offensive spark for the Jays from the left side of the plate.
More importantly, Belt is now back in the nick of time with the Jays after coming off the IL to do his best to help the team get into the playoffs. He definitely did his part both on Thursday night against the New York Yankees with a three-run blast and on Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays with another solo shot to help power the Jays one step closer to a playoff berth. With his breadth of playoff experience and veteran leadership, look for Belt to guide the Jays into the postseason, and hopefully right to where he had been two times previously in his career in the World Series.