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Inbox: Are Giants still looking to move Belt?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado answers fans' questions
MLB.com @mi_guardado

What are the chances the Giants will trade Brandon Belt this offseason? -- @keesgl via Twitter

Belt is one of the Giants' most valuable trade chips due to his on-base skills and elite fielding at first base, so dealing him would be one way to bring young, impactful talent back to the organization. Moving Belt, who is owed $48 million over the next three seasons, could also create more financial flexibility for the Giants and open up first base for Buster Posey.

What are the chances the Giants will trade Brandon Belt this offseason? -- @keesgl via Twitter

Belt is one of the Giants' most valuable trade chips due to his on-base skills and elite fielding at first base, so dealing him would be one way to bring young, impactful talent back to the organization. Moving Belt, who is owed $48 million over the next three seasons, could also create more financial flexibility for the Giants and open up first base for Buster Posey.

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Still, finding a trade partner could be a bit of a challenge, as Belt possesses a partial no-trade clause in his contract that permits him to block deals to 10 teams of his choosing. A handful of more affordable first-base options, such as Lucas Duda and Logan Morrison, remain available in free agency, so that could also dampen Belt's trade market.

I suspect that very few fans of the Giants expect the team to add to the already inflated payroll by signing a top free agent this winter. However, most of us are hoping for a few intelligent moves to generate some improvement in 2019. Thus far, no significant moves. What gives? -- Gerald L., Columbus, Ind.

I understand most fans are eager to see new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi make a splash, especially now that the calendar has flipped to 2019, but I think the Giants are simply being patient and allowing the slow-moving trade and free-agent markets to continue to develop. San Francisco is expected to add a couple of outfielders, but that market is likely being held up by top free agent Bryce Harper. The Giants could also look to move some of their relievers, including Will Smith and Tony Watson, but their trade markets likely won't come into focus until free agents such as Adam Ottavino and Craig Kimbrel are off the board.

Video: SF@SD: Smith strikes out Renfroe to earn 14th save

Spring Training is less than six weeks away, but plenty of time remains for Zaidi and his staff to continue to assess the landscape and execute moves they believe will help improve the team in the long run.

With the Giants looking for outfield depth and more power in the lineup, why don't the Giants talk to Detroit about a trade for Nicholas Castellanos? He doesn't seem like the type of player that would break the bank when it comes to the prospects we would have to give up, and he has been a pretty solid consistent player throughout his career. -- Bryan B., Saint George, Utah

Castellanos' bat is certainly attractive and would help boost the Giants' lineup, but my colleague Jason Beck recently reported that the Tigers have set a high asking price for the 26-year-old slugger. Castellanos is entering his final season before free agency, so I'm not sure how interested the Giants would be in trading prospect capital for one year of club control. Castellanos is also a defensive liability in the outfield and at third base, so he might be a better fit for an American League team that could occasionally play him at designated hitter.

Upgrading the offense would be great, and so would finding another starting pitcher. But nothing takes the wind out of a team's sails like a blown save (especially a team that struggles to score). So, what are the Giants going to do about this problem? I believe that this is their most glaring weakness, and has been for the last two and a half years. -- Matthew M., Auburn, Calif.

Video: COL@SF: Watson strikes out Murphy, the side in 7th

It's true that the Giants led the Majors with 30 blown saves in 2018, but I don't think that statistic was completely indicative of the bullpen's overall talent level. San Francisco relievers ranked 11th in the Majors with a 3.79 ERA last season, so I think the late-inning stumbles can at least be partially attributed to the lack of wiggle room provided by the club's offense. Zaidi has actually identified the bullpen as an area of strength for the Giants, so I think it's more likely they subtract from that surplus and try to flip arms like Smith, Watson or Sam Dyson for younger talent.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.

San Francisco Giants, Brandon Belt