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Brandon Belt said he’s “definitely playing this year” and is reportedly nearing a contract with an unnamed team

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Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Brennan Delaney
2 months ago
It appears that the Blue Jays best hitter in 2023 will continue to play baseball.
According to a recent The Athletic article, Brandon Belt reportedly texted the site and said he “is definitely playing this year.” It’s also worth mentioning that a mystery team is close to signing him, reports the article.
Depending on what stat you’re looking at, Belt was the Blue Jays best hitter in 2023. I use wRC+ religiously, and his 138 wRC+ ranked first on the team for batters with 200 plate appearances. 
Belt also finished with 19 home runs, which ranked fifth on the team, as well as a 15.1 BB%, the highest of any player on the team. The only downside to Belt’s game was the strikeouts, as he had a 34.9 K%, which also happened to be the highest on the team with more than 50 plate appearances.
However, Belt’s numbers are even more impressive when you consider his awful start to the season. From March 30 to May 1, Belt slashed just .161/.235/.274 with one homer in 68 plate appearances for a 41 wRC+. The captain also had a 44.1 K% and an 8.8 BB% and was approaching Jarrod Saltalamacchia territory of “this guy needs to be cut”.
Starting on May 4 until the end of the season, Belt slashed .274/.396/.538 with 18 home runs in 336 plate appearances for a 158 wRC+. His BB% jumped nearly double to 16.4%, while his K% dropped considerably to a very high 33%.
With all that being said, Belt’s production will be difficult to replace. Justin Turner, who the Blue Jays signed to a one-year deal, will have his work cut out for him to replace Belt. It’s unlikely Toronto will re-sign Belt, but hopefully, wherever he lands, he finds success.

Elsewhere in that article:

The Athletic article also mentioned former Blue Jay Matt Chapman, stating that there’s a wide assumption around the industry that the three-time Gold Glove winner will wind up back in the Bay Area with the San Francisco Giants.
Aggregated by the wonderful Josh (@Josh_theJaysFan on Twitter), it’s believed that Chapman will land with the Giants this off-season. However, it won’t be without competition, as the Blue Jays and several other teams need a third baseman heading into the 2024 season.
Last season, Chapman slashed .240/.330/.424 with 17 home runs in 581 plate appearances for a 110 wRC+. The 30-year-old won his fourth gold glove award, along with taking home April’s Player of the Month, where he did most of his damage.
If he signs elsewhere, the Blue Jays will receive a draft pick after the fourth round in the 2024 draft, so there’s that. Still, it’s ideal for the Blue Jays to sign Chapman or trade for another third baseman because the team is significantly weaker on paper than last season as it stands.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.

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