This offseason's biggest theme for the Toronto Blue Jays has been the club's need for a designated hitter. The projected lineup for the upcoming season is not exactly without its fair share of thump, but there's certainly room for another bat in there.
It seems that the Blue Jays are not the only team in need of some pop. In fact, the Texas Rangers, last year's World Series champs, are targeting a player that was statistically the best hitter on the Jays in 2023.
According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Rangers have "had internal conversations" about Brandon Belt, who spent all of last year in a Blue Jays uniform. The 35-year-old had previously hinted at retirement, but he has yet to make any sort of official announcement, so the plan currently appears to be for him to play in 2024.
In 103 games for last year's Blue Jays, Belt hit 19 home runs with 43 RBI and a 136 OPS+. He got off to a horrendous start in the first month of the season (.170 batting average, 48 wRC+, 27 strikeouts in 17 games) but he was able to turn it around in a big way and finished the year 36 percent above average per Baseball-Reference.
Just the amount of games he played alone was noteworthy, as he made it into the most contests he's been in since all the way back in 2019. On more than one occasion, time has caught up to him in three of the past four years, resulting in a multitude of injuries that kept him on the shelf for extended periods of time.
Last year was not exactly Belt at his healthiest, but he performed at an extremely high level in a relatively small sample size. Its no wonder a club as powerful as the Rangers have their eyes on him. Belt, a Texas native, seems like an ideal fit for a lineup needing not only a veteran presence, but a bat with some strong offensive output in it.
As of right now, the Rangers have some combination of rookie Wyatt Langford, and utilitymen Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran projected to fill the designated hitter position on a daily basis. With Mitch Garver moving on to the division rival Mariners, there's an obvious spot in this lineup for someone of Belt's stature. As one of the top remaining left-handed hitters on the market, Belt is undoubtedly on the radar of multiple teams, including the Blue Jays, who could use one more bat to cap off the offseason.