Brandon Belt and the Giants avoided arbitration on Wednesday, agreeing to a one-year deal for $6.2 million, which is $200,000 less than the midpoint, but right where MLB Trade Rumors predicted the contract would be. The deal continues the Giants' impressive, 11-season streak of avoiding arbitration, though the streak that will be tested even further next year, when Belt is in his last season of arbitration eligibility and coming off a 40-homer season.
Well, a fella can dream.
The worst part about the Giants avoiding arbitration with every single player, year after year, is that it forces you to think about A.J. Pierzynski, who beat the Giants in their last arbitration case in 2004. The best part is that you don't have to imagine the Giants in an arbitration hearing, making a case to a third party that one of your favorite players is secretly less valuable than he thinks. The pros outweigh the cons. This is a good organizational strategy.
As for Belt, it remains unlikely that he'll get the kind of long-term deal that his Brandonpart got this offseason. There are several reasons why, from positional scarcity to perceived value, and it was never likely that the Giants were going to use this pending arbitration hearing as their chance to leap into negotiations for a five- or six-year deal.
We'll still get to enjoy Belt for the next two seasons, though, and he's still underpaid. You can thank the entire infield for Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, really, if you're so inclined. And if everyone can stop throwing baseballs at him, he should make a lot more money next year, and gobs and gobs of money the year after that.
I would watch a Brandon Belt episode of Cribs, now that you mention it. I have absolutely no idea what he would spend his money on, and now it's going to keep me up at night.
Hopefully the door is still open for an extension, but until then, at least the Giants don't have to worry about an arbitration hearing anymore. I'll bet they put a lot of preparation into the possible hearing, too, just in case they can't agree. That's over a decade of hard work flushed down the toilet. That is one sad-happy annual tradition.