Blue Jays: Brandon Belt set to make Spring Training debut
When the Toronto Blue Jays made one of their biggest splashes of the offseason by signing Brandon Belt, you knew what you were going to get from him.
The 34-year-old has been around the league seemingly forever (it's actually been 12 years), functioning as the San Francisco Giants' everyday first baseman and eventual clubhouse leader. He made the All-Star Game in 2016 and won two World Series Championships with the team.
To begin 2023, Belt has been on the shelf for the first handful of games. He is recovering from a knee injury that limited him to just 78 games last year for the Giants. Jays manager John Schneider has said that Belt will be eased in to game action and should realistically only need around 25-30 at-bats to get warmed up.
In Saturday's contest against the Baltimore Orioles, Belt will bat third and be the club's designated hitter as he finally will be making his Blue Jays debut.
Belt is such a widely respected veteran and is going to be a great addition to this Blue Jays squad. The narrative has seemingly shifted from loose and fun to more professional and fun. He was a leader on the Giants for so many years and became one of the more beloved figures over there for a reason.
For the regular season, he is expected to be the DH on a daily basis while only getting the occasional start at first base. With the presence of superstar Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first, there just isn't a real avenue to consistent playing time there. In years past, Belt had lined up in the corner outfield for the Giants but with his knee injuries and overall troubles staying healthy, don't expect to see him in left at all for the Jays.
While last year didn't go his way offensively (eight home runs, .213 AVG, 92 OPS+ in 78 games), he is not far removed from an incredible showing in 2021 that saw him hit 29 home runs in just 97 games. A healthy Belt is an exceptional hitter, so let's cross our fingers that we are getting the 2021 version.