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A Giraffe in the Outfield: Why Brandon Belt needs to be moved to left field ASAP!
Holes to fill
The , coming off yet another magical season, are currently looking to fill a few holes in their lineup and rotation. They lost Pablo Sandoval, and there still is the possibility of losing Michael Morse, Jake Peavy, Ryan Vogelsong, and Sergio Romo. The bullpen seems to be in good shape even if Romo decides to go elsewhere. Third base will most likely come via trade or free agency as has been indicated by the club. The rotation may get a boost with the possible signing of a big name stater (i.e. Jon Lester). But what about left field? Since the departure of Barry Bonds, there has been a different left fielder starting on opening day every year. Dave Roberts, Fred Lewis, Mark DeRosa, Pat Burrell, Aubrey Huff (yes he started in left on opening day 2012), Andres Torres, and finally Morse. Now believe me, after what Brian Sabean has accomplished over his tenure, I don't have any doubt in my mind that the Giants brass knows what they are doing. But in my mind, and I don't hear it much which scares me, the only true long-term answer to left field is to move Brandon Belt there. San Francisco Giants
Reason number one, two, and three....Buster Posey
The commitment made to Buster Posey was an easy decision. He is the face of the franchise, and one of the faces of the entire sport. He is the epitome of what a team wants as far as on-field play along with the marketing aspect. Posey is going to be on this team for a good portion, if not all of his contract. Now if we are to believe that he is going to be crouching behind the plate in 2022 wearing the orange and black, I would have to also believe that MLB had shortened the season to 100 games. And even then it's highly unlikely. So that leads to the question of where Posey plays when he moves from behind the plate. There are some who feel that Posey can easily switch over to third base right now and fill that need. That isn't going to happen. First of all, it has been reported that Posey still has the desire to be a full-time catcher. Which means that, at least through the start of this year, Posey is behind the plate. Secondly, and most importantly, moving Posey to third doesn't make as much sense as moving him to first. He has played first base recently and seems comfortable. Also, playing third base doesn't protect the investment as much as first base does. Coaches don't just tell their star players "Hey, go learn a new position".
Another reason: Andrew Susac
When the Giants signed Posey to the monster 9 year deal, they did so knowing that they had a young catcher who could hit, but needed defensive seasoning. Andrew Susac was pressed into big league duty this year, and did not disappoint. He showed the ability to handle the pitchers without much of a drop off. He seems to have studied what Buster Posey does, and tries to emulate him. Now with Susac possibly pushing for more playing time, again where will Posey play? Is he going to sit during those games? He will at first, of course, since he is going to get as much rest as possible after another deep postseason. But what about when Susac gets hot? What if Belt and Posey are hot too? Who sits?
Should the Giants move Brandon Belt to Left Field?
I am not saying that moving to left field will be an easy transition for Belt. I am also not saying that he isn't the best fielding first baseman the team has had since J.T. Snow. However, there are few options here. You can allow Belt to become the bona-fide star that everyone hopes he can become. Then you'll have to ask your first baseman (who could become an All-Star) to move to left field to accommodate Posey. Or trade Belt? Posey? Not what I would have in mind. But if everyone plays the way the front office hopes it can play, somebody is going to change positions or get traded.
Do it now
So why not do it now? The amount of suitable players you can get to play first base on this team is far greater than left field. Travis Ishikawa is much better at first, and would be a nice platoon player there. Even Michael Morse, who is still unsigned, holds more value as a first baseman than he does in the outfield. My whole point to all of this is simple. Buster Posey is eventually going to be the starting first baseman for the San Francisco Giants. Brandon Belt will, hopefully soon, be a 25-30 home run producer. Do you want to see those home runs being hit by your starting left fielder, or by a first baseman playing for another team. However this situation turns out, it's a nice problem to have. But one that will need attention sooner or later.