Blue Jays: How long is the leash for Brandon Belt?

Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals
Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals / Ed Zurga/GettyImages

Coming into the 2023 season, Brandon Belt was considered one of Ross Atkins' main offseason acquisitions, but to start the season he has been far from optimal for the Blue Jays. The 34-year-old is currently on a one-year, $9.3M contract. His leash is getting shorter and shorter as the days go on and it begs the question of will the Jays think about moving on since he is only on a small one-year deal? It's still only April, but this void of production is not maintainable on a team with playoff aspirations.

Belt has mainly seen playing time in the designated hitter role, as well as a few reps at first base when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the DH or taking a day off. Most of his struggles have not been in the field, but rather at the plate. To start the season, he has a batting average of .154 with zero home runs, and one run batted in. These stats are far from ideal considering he is in the lineup almost every day. 

There are many other options the Jays can use instead of him; like Alejandro Kirk, Cavan Biggio or even someone like Nathan Lukes. The main positive he is bringing is another left-handed bat in this lineup but at what point is it not worth having? The Jays are going to have to trust what they have with the left-handed bats in Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier, who have been producing good numbers so far.

Currently he looks slow and is struggling to get around on fastballs. Any pitch of 90mph or above he cannot hit and always looks late to the pitch. Some have thought of this to be because of a short Spring Training. He only saw minimal at bats over the course of the spring because he showed up to camp late, but after one month of the season, one would think these issues would be fixed. After all, he's been around the game for well over a decade.

At this point, the Jays must be starting to become concerned. Coming off knee surgery last year, Belt has been nothing but slow and powerless and could begin to drag the lineup down. This Blue Jays lineup has the potential to be the best lineup in baseball, but not with someone like him bogging it down. 

The front office and coaches have a few options to work with. The first option is to give him a few days off and see how the lineup progresses. The second option is to give him more time and see if he can figure his swing out. The last option the Blue Jays have is to eat the bad contract and let him go. At some point, the leash will have to be cut as the team cannot allow him to continuously play this bad and effect a young and hungry team.

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