The San Francisco Giants narrowly avoided their first arbitration hearing since 2004 Tuesday night, coming to terms with first baseman Brandon Belt on a one-year worth $2.9 million.
MLB.com reported the deal late Tuesday, just hours before the sides were scheduled to appear before a three-person arbitration panel in St. Petersburg, Fla., at 6 a.m. Pacific.
Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area reported the financial terms via Twitter:
#SFGiants and Belt settled at $2.9 million, just above midpoint of $2.825 million.
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) February 19, 2014
That figure is slightly more than the average of the two sides’ arbitration figures. Belt was asking for $3.6 million while the team offered $2.05 million.
Belt, 25, was eligible for arbitration as a so-called Super 2 player, a player with more than two years of service time but less than the three usually required for arbitration eligibility who ranks within the top 22 percent of all two-year players in terms of service time.
That status doesn’t speed up the free agency process; rather, it just means the player is arbitration eligible for four seasons rather than three. Why 22 percent? It was changed from 17 percent in the latest collective bargaining agreement.
Belt’s second full season in the bigs was his best, as he hit .289/.360/.481 in 150 games with 76 runs, 39 doubles, four triples, 17 homers and 67 RBI to go with 125 strikeouts.
In any event, Belt was in line for a substantial pay raise over the $531,500 he earned in 2013. The earliest Belt could be eligible for free agency would be after the 2017 season.