The Giants have extended another valuable member of its homegrown infield, signing first baseman Brandon Belt to a six-year extension.
Belt owns a career .271/.348/.455/.803 slash line and is coming off a season in which he slashed .280/.356/.478/.834. The 2015 season marked only the second time in which Belt has accumulated at least 500 plate appearances. He does have a history dealing with concussions. He also had knee surgery in September 2015 while dealing with his concussion issue. When healthy, Belt is one of the game’s more valuable players. He posted a 2.8 bWAR in 2012, followed by a 4.2 bWAR in 2013. Injuries derailed his 2014 season, but he rebounded to post a 3.9 bWAR in 2015.
The move to extend Belt comes five months after the Giants inked shortstop Brandon Crawford to a six-year extension worth $75 million. CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic, who first reported the Belt extension, said Belt’s new deal is expected to be similar to that of Crawford’s, but bigger. Crawford’s contract extension bought out the final two years of arbitration eligibility and four years of free agency.
Belt, who turns 28 later this month, could have been a free agent after the conclusion of the 2017 season, but the extension handed out by the Giants keeps him on the team through 2021 – just like Crawford and catcher Buster Posey. The latest extension means this particular trio is tied up until their age 34 seasons.
Naturally, the Cubs have a fair share of young, talented players who could be extension candidates. And that makes news like Belt’s new deal relevant to the Cubs as it could help set parameters or a precedent of what could be coming down the pipeline.