Brandon Belt

Giants' offensive leaders in 2010s: Where Posey, Belt, Crawford rank

Giants' offensive leaders in 2010s: Where Posey, Belt, Crawford rank

When you think of big offensive moments from the Giants over the past decade, you probably think of Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford, but also guys like Travis Ishikawa and Cody Ross. 

This is an organization that has had a solid core for years, but also has relied heavily on random contributions in the biggest moments. It was a recipe that led to three titles, although there were also plenty of historically dry stretches during the regular season. 

As we head for the 2020s, here's a look back at the offensive leaders of the past decade, with a few notes on surprise contributors:

GAMES PLAYED

1. Buster Posey/Brandon Crawford -- 1,251
3. Brandon Belt -- 1,084

Surprise: Joaquin Arias -- The utility infielder played 361 games for the Giants last decade, ranking ninth. That puts him ahead of Aubrey Huff, Andres Torres and Matt Duffy, among others. 

HOME RUNS

1. Posey -- 140
2. Belt -- 129
3. Sandoval -- 106

Surprise: Mike Yastrzemski -- Yaz didn't even play a full season for the Giants last year but ended up tied for 14th in Giants home runs last decade. That, uhh, tells you a lot about how little power this lineup has had in recent years. Only five Giants -- Posey, Belt, Sandoval, Crawford and Hunter Pence -- had more than 40 homers in the 2010s. Only 16 Giants position players had more homers last decade than Madison Bumgarner's 19. 

HITS

1. Posey -- 1,378
2. Crawford -- 1,055
3. Belt -- 957

RUNS

1. Posey -- 594
2. Belt -- 513
3. Crawford 483

Surprise: Gorkys Hernandez -- Ahmed Fareed's favorite player did some nice things for the Giants, but it still registers as a bit of a surprise that he scored more runs (99) than Marco Scutaro (98). That back injury was a killer. 

RBI

1. Posey -- 673
2. Crawford -- 536
3. Belt -- 472

Surprise: Who do you think drove in more runs for the Giants in the 2010s, Hector Sanchez or Michael Morse? Sanchez (87) actually had the edge by 23 RBI. 

ON-BASE PERCENTAGE (Minimum 500 plate appearances)

1. Melky Cabrera -- .390
2. Posey -- .371
3. Scutaro -- .363

Surprise: Kelby Tomlinson -- The utility infielder didn't hit for any power, but he had a .331 OBP in 687 plate appearances, which ranks 12th among Giants who had at least 500 plate appearances during the decade. When you use that as a minimum, Melky Cabrera just sneaks in. What a (brief and chemically-enhanced) run he had in San Francisco. 

SLUGGING PERCENTAGE (Minimum 500 plate appearances)

1. Cabrera -- .516
2. Burrell -- .468
3. Morse -- .462

Surprise: A lot of KNBR callers would probably be shocked to know that Brandon Belt had the fifth-highest slugging percentage (.448) among Giants last decade, and he ranks second behind only Posey (.458) if you only count Giants who had more than 560 plate appearances.

[RELATED: Posey is Giants' best prospect of decade]

WAR

1. Posey -- 42.2
2. Crawford -- 23.6
3. Belt -- 23.2

Surprise: Bumgarner ranked 13th among Giants in WAR if you only count what he did as a hitter. It was not a great decade for the Giants at the plate, particularly on the back end. There isn't a single Giants hitter who made his debut for the team after 2014 and provided more than five WAR for the rest of the decade.

Why Giants didn't keep Madison Bumgarner in San Francisco forever

Why Giants didn't keep Madison Bumgarner in San Francisco forever

The massive deals kept coming and coming, keeping fans happy and giving homegrown stars the knowledge that they might never play in another uniform.

In 2012, Matt Cain tacked on five years and $112.5 million to his deal, avoiding free agency. A year later, Buster Posey signed a nine-year, $167 million deal that could keep him in a Giants uniform through his 35th birthday. Brandon Crawford signed a $75 million deal in 2015, and Brandon Belt soon got $79 million.

The Giants were riding high, caught up in the championship era and eager to keep it going. They even spent heavily in free agency, giving $220 million to pitchers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, and handed a $62 million check to closer Mark Melancon the next winter. 

This is an organization that prints money, but when it came time to hand it out to the players, one name curiously was left on the sidelines, and he might be the biggest one of all. 

Madison Bumgarner did get his life-changing deal, signing a contract as a 22-year-old that guaranteed him at least $35 million and ended up being worth much more than that. He pitched for the Giants through both option years in the contract, adding on $24 million in earnings.

Bumgarner had played just one full big league season at the time he signed the deal, but he still was taking a risk. He opted for security for his family, saying that the contract "took a weight off my shoulders."

"Now I just have to go out there and pitch," he said in 2012.

The problem for Bumgarner was that he pitched so well that the deal quickly became a steal for the organization. And the problem for Giants fans today is that the two sides never tore it up. 

Bumgarner got his massive payday Sunday, agreeing to a five-year, $85 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He no longer is a Giant, and while the new front office will take a lot of blame for that fact, this is a situation they inherited. This is a day that's been coming for a couple of years. 

Ownership and the previous front office went into the 2017 season planning to give Bumgarner an extension at the end of the year if he continued to pitch as he always had. He would be two years from free agency at that point, and the timing finally was right. They knew the range of what it would cost to get it done, and this was the closest the two sides ever came to making Bumgarner a Giant For Life.

But when Bumgarner hurt his shoulder in a dirt bike accident in April, everything changed. 

The Giants were not vindictive. They could have fined Bumgarner, lessening their Competitive Balance Tax hit and potentially getting close enough to the threshold that they would dip under, as they eventually worked so hard to do in 2018. The organization stood behind the ace during that process, but the relationship never was quite the same. The Giants had concerns about Bumgarner's shoulder moving forward, and there was a disconnect between the pitcher and the staff as he went through the rehab process.

It was glaring that nobody showed up in San Jose for Bumgarner's last rehab start despite the fact that the Giants were in the All-Star break. 

That year was the best opportunity for a long-term extension. The Giants did briefly consider tearing up the existing deal when Bumgarner carried them to a third championship in 2014, putting his own future on the line by taking on a monumental workload. They could have locked him up with Posey, who got his deal after the 2012 title, but ultimately the front office decided that it didn't make sense to do anything with five full years left on Bumgarner's deal. 

So, the sides continued a happy relationship, with 2017 viewed as a good opportunity for an extension. The Giants were so set on it that team officials involved Posey in the process, but an injury that year and another fluke one when Bumgarner was hit by a line drive in 2018 scuttled any talks. 

"If you look back at all those years, it really was the perfect storm," a source said recently.

The talks never got serious this season, with both sides resigned to let Bumgarner try free agency for the first time. The Giants did circle back this week, and their four-year offer to Bumgarner would have come with a higher average annual value than the one he accepted from the D-backs. But Bumgarner was not going to leave $10-15 million on the table, not this time. 

Bumgarner never has publicly complained about his contract, but those close to him knew it was something that gnawed at him. He sometimes asked friends why the Giants had locked up so many core members but didn't do the same with him. When his friend Clayton Kershaw got a three-year, $93 million extension from the Dodgers, Bumgarner privately wondered why he wasn't in line for a similar deal. 

[RELATED: MadBum's departure signals Giants are in a full rebuild]

By then, the Giants no longer were operating that way, and when Bumgarner showed up this spring, it was clear that he would have to play out his final year under a cloud of trade rumors and uncertainty. Early in the spring, Bumgarner was asked about his future. 

"Obviously, this is where I came up. I've been through a lot here," Bumgarner said. "A lot of good times and a few bad times, also. Obviously I would love to stay here. If that happens or not, I don't know. Some parts are in my control, some parts aren't."

MLB rumors: Brandon Belt would fit Brewers, according to rival execs

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USATSI

MLB rumors: Brandon Belt would fit Brewers, according to rival execs

The new dimensions at Oracle Park meant bringing in the fences. This also meant great news for first baseman Brandon Belt ... that is, if he remains with the Giants.

MLB insider Robert Murray reported Friday that rival executives believe Belt would be an ideal fit for the Brewers.

As Murray stated in his tweet, Belt is owed a chunk of change over the next two years, but having him at first base every day and bringing a lefty bat into the lineup would prove beneficial for Milwaukee.

The Brewers would be able to have Ryan Braun back in left field more permanently as opposed to switching off with Ben Gamel. If the lineup were out today, Braun would more than likely take over at the first base position.

The Giants have been using Buster Posey as a platoon at first base for the past few seasons in an effort to save his knees, and the team would likely give Posey more time at first base if this more were to come to fruition.

Let's circle back to the enhancement Belt's bat could possess with these new outfield measurements for a moment.

Belt is one of the biggest victims to fall to the park's infamous Triples Alley. His 25 triples at home across his career is a start. Additionally, he almost doubles his Oracle Park home run total when he's on the road. Playing in San Francisco Belt notched 47 homers -- and when he's on the road? 82.

[RELATED: Five things we learned about Giants at Winter Meetings]

Belt spoke to Giants insider Alex Pavlovic back in April and said he was torn on the changes being made at the park formerly known as AT&T. He liked the idea of knowing he could limit hitters at a pitcher's park, but when it's his turn to hit, it results in the opposite.

The change would shave off 11 feet and could create a boost in confidence for him at the plate. Whether that's a determinant remains to be seen.