Belt accepts QO, will stay with Giants in '22

November 18th, 2021

The Giants' captain will be around for at least another season, as first baseman has decided to accept the team's $18.4 million qualifying offer.

Belt is the only player to accept a qualifying offer this year, with 13 players declining it.

Belt's decision is no doubt welcome news in San Francisco, where the 33-year-old has spent his entire career. He was a key part of World Series-winning teams in 2012 and '14 and he is held in high esteem in the clubhouse where his teammates have given him the title of captain.

Belt is one of two remaining players from San Francisco’s championship core, along with shortstop Brandon Crawford, who signed a two-year, $32 million extension in August.

Belt's decision locks him in with the Giants through 2022, though the deal wouldn’t preclude both sides from potentially working out a longer-term arrangement.

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi made it clear that retaining Belt was a priority for the Giants, who have watched him develop into one of the top hitters in baseball over the past two seasons. Belt was limited to 97 games due to injury this past season, but he was an offensive force when healthy, slugging a career-high 29 home runs and posting a .975 OPS while hitting in the heart of the Giants’ order.

“He had a great couple of seasons,” Zaidi said before Belt made his decision. “We’d love for him to be part of the team. … I assume we’ll have conversations with a multiyear deal, as well. But I know accepting the [qualifying offer] is a possibility, and he’d be very happy with that.”

Belt’s season came to a premature end when he sustained a left thumb fracture heading into the final week of the regular season, and the Giants felt his absence in the playoffs, when their offense went cold in their National League Division Series loss to the Dodgers.

Retaining a player with a qualifying offer worked well for the Giants last year when they extended a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer to right-hander Kevin Gausman, who accepted the deal and responded with his first career All-Star campaign in 2021.