This might mean something. This might mean nothing. But when the Giants and Brandon Belt exchanged arbitration figures, the Giants were from Mars and Brandon Belt was from Venus. That is, they had different ideas of how things should go. Jeff Passan had the first word:
Brandon Belt asks for $3.6M from the Giants. Team offers $2.05M.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 18, 2014
That's a pretty substantial gap, especially since Belt is a super-two player. That means after his 2014 salary, he'll get three more raises. It's kind of a big deal if those raises start at $2.05 million instead of $3.6 million. The Giants wouldn't just pay $1.55 million more in 2014; they'd pay more in 2015, 2016, and 2017, too.
On Belt's side are the advanced stats. By WAR, Belt was as valuable as Joey Votto was in his first three years in the league. Also, Daric Barton, but Belt's side probably isn't going to bring that up.
On the Giants' side are slumpy shoulders and misaligned knuckles. And probably RBI. Maybe some choice quotes from a Farmer's Almanac about tides.
While I'd err on the side of Belt being more valuable than what the Giants offered, you never know what the arbitrator is looking at. He or she might love RBI.
Worth nothing: The Giants never go to arbitration. They settle every danged time. The process is ugly, apparently, so they usually meet in the middle. But Belt's total is much higher than predicted, so maybe the Giants will dig in a little. Or maybe it's the opening salvo for negotiations on an extension, with Belt wanting some long-term security, and his agent figuring this was a good way to build urgency.
Heck, I don't know. But I'm trying to look for positive ways to spin the large gap. The alternative is to focus on how the perception of Belt's current value is so wildly different for Belt and the Giants see. That can't be good, right?
In other arbitration news, the Giants agreed to an $845,000 contract with Yusmeiro Petit, a $745,000 contract with Tony Abreu, and a $2.525 million contract with Gregor Blanco.
The only outstanding case in addition to Belt is Joaquin Arias. According to Passan, Arias asked for $1.5 million in arbitration, but the Giants offered $1.1 million.