Photo by Bill Zarchy.
Giants first basemen Brandon Belt has an official 2014 salary, settling with the club for $2.9 million in his first year of arbitration. It took the 25-year-old flying down to Florida for his hearing before a deal was reached late Tuesday night.
The deal was expected, as the Giants haven’t had an arbitration case since 2004. The contract figure is slightly more than the midpoint of $2.82 million, as Belt asked for $3.6 million and the Giants offered $2.05 million.
Belt is a Super Two, having enough service time to jump his way into the arbitration process without playing a full three seasons. This cost the Giants a little over $2 million in the grand scheme of things, but Belt’s production has been more than enough to justify him being on the big-league roster for quite some time.
It still might behoove the Giants to seek a multi-year deal for Belt, who isn’t a free-agent until 2018. Last season was a coming-out party for the young first baseman, who clubbed 17 home runs and finished with a 142 OPS+. FanGraphs lists Belt’s 2013 season as the sixth best for any Major League first baseman, accruing 4.0 fWAAR.
The Braves’ Freddie Freeman — though eighteen months younger than Belt — is on a similar career path. Freeman’s 2013 OPS+ of 144 garnered him an All-Star spot and some MVP votes, and one of the larger contracts handed out to a pre-free agent player this off-season. Atlanta signed him to an eight-year, $135 million contract earlier this month.
Belt’s value — though not his park-adjusted OPS+ — may be hidden by the vastness of AT&T Park. The greatest stadium of all-time is playing as more of a pitcher’s park every season, depressing offensive totals in its confines. But even if park adjustments were completely mitigated, Belt would still a valuable commodity as the days of thumping first baseman creep farther into the distance.
The Giants would be smart to lock Belt up on a much cheaper deal than Freeman’s, giving a bit of cost certainty to what could be a perennial top-flight first baseman.
- Episode 111: Invader Szym
In the hundred-and-twelfth episode, Thomas and Danny are joined by ESPN’s Dan Szymborski to talk about Hunter Pence’s contract and recap the 2013 season.
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The MLB playoffs are well underway, and with each passing day we’re getting a clearer picture of who might be vying for the top prize come early November. It’s been an exciting round of division series match-ups, with not a single series being decided in a sweep, and until late Monday night all 8 divisional playoff teams were still alive. But with the division series wrapping up, it’s time to turn our attention forward and take a look at which of the remaining teams have the best odds to win the World Series.
For some specific sports betting odds, we’ll be referencing betting.betfair.com in the section on sports betting devoted specifically to the MLB, you can find updated fixed odds on each team’s chances to win the World Series. This is a particularly helpful source, because instead of simply placing odds on each individual game or series, the service places a value on each team’s overall chances. So, using these odds, here’s where the 6 remaining teams stack up, as of Wednesday, October 9th.
- Boston Red Sox – With 2/1 backing odds, the Red Sox are effectively the listed favorite to win the World Series. After closing out the Tampa Bay Rays late Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, the Sox certainly look like arguably the most well-rounded team heading forward, and will have home field advantage in the ALCS.
- Los Angeles Dodgers – 13/5 odds essentially translate to 2.6/1 odds, putting the Dodgers just a hair behind the Sox. Los Angeles dispatched the Braves with relative ease, winning 3-1, and will have time to set up their rotation exactly as they wish for a series against either the Cardinals or Pirates.
- St. Louis Cardinals – 5/1 odds are good for a tie for 3rd best, which is interesting given that the Cardinals are facing a must-win game 5 at home on Wednesday night. That said, the Cardinals will be pitting Adam Wainwright against rookie starter Gerrit Cole, so there’s a significant experience edge in starting pitching.
- Detroit Tigers – 5/1 odds, they’re tied with the Cardinals. However, Detroit will have to get by the A’s in Oakland in game 5 just to advance to the ALCS. The Tigers will at least have ace Justin Verlander on the mound for the deciding game.
- Oakland Athletics – 7/1 odds, good for 5th best overall, and though the A’s have to beat Justin Verlander, they’ll get the chance to do so at home, behind Cy Young candidate Bartolo Colon. Game 5 in this series is all but a toss-up.
- Pittsburgh Pirates – 10/1 odds, the worst of any team remaining. The task of beating the Cardinals in St. Louis behind a talented but inexperienced rookie starter is a very difficult prospect.
Those are the odds as they stand now, and for a look at the schedule from here on out, you can visit mlb.com for updated games and series. Stay tuned for updates as the postseason progresses!