Finally, we have the mysterious case of Brandon Belt. Belt was signed by the Jays in the previous offseason to help fill their designated hitter role, along with adding a strong power, left-handed bat to help balance their right-handed-heavy lineup. Things didn’t start off pretty when Belt was mired in the worst slump of his career when the season began. Striking out almost 50% of the time while constantly hitting below the Mendoza Line, he quickly became the Jays’ scapegoat as the fans began to lose patience with the potential big bust signing.
However, a drastic turnaround by Belt beginning in May helped change things quickly as from there onwards, he compiled a solid .271 batting average with a stellar .924 OPS, along with 48 runs scored, 19 doubles, 18 home runs and 38 RBI in his remaining 86 active games of the season. That huge bounce back helped changed the attitude of the fans from wanting him to leave to truly appreciating his impact, as well as his leadership on the ballclub. And if that didn’t catch the fans’ attention, his astute humour certainly did when he explained why he was snubbed for the All-Star game.
Nevertheless, towards the end of the 2023 regular season, Belt had brought up the possibility of retirement during an interview on Foul Territory. He expressed he was unsure of his future on whether he will be continuing his career, or rather be spending more of his time with his family. With the almost absolute silence so far this offseason coming from Belt’s camp, it is becoming more and more likely now that he may be leaning towards stepping away from the game than continuing to pursue the game he loves for another year. If we have indeed seen the last of Belt in the major leagues, at least the Jays’ faithful got to witness his excellence for his swan song.