A two-time World Series champion who has been worth almost 30 wins in a prolific big league career remains unsigned a month into the season. Teams who could use an upgrade at first base should interested, and the Red Sox might be a club joining that group of teams.

Triston Casas got off to a sensational start to the 2024 season. The Red Sox first baseman of the future has solidified himself as the first baseman of the present, belting six home runs and driving in 10 runs through Boston’s first 22 games. The Red Sox, though, might be without the 24-year-old for the foreseeable future.

Casas suffered a rib injury during a weekend series in Pittsburgh. He admitted he was in considerable pain, and it didn’t take long for the Sox to put him on the injured list. An MRI confirmed the bad news, with The Boston Globe reporting Monday that Casas will miss extended time.

It’s not clear what that timeframe will be, but if it’s going to be a matter of months, the Red Sox should give that two-time champion, Brandon Belt, a call. The 35-year-old remains unsigned after spending the 2023 season with the Toronto Blue Jays. The former Giants All-Star made 103 appearances for Toronto, hitting 19 home runs and driving in 43 runs while posting an .858 OPS in 404 plate appearances.

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Belt hasn’t played a ton over the last three seasons, appearing in just 278 games, but he has been able to hit 56 home runs in that time with an OPS — .849 — that is better than his career mark.

He’s not exactly a Hoover at first base defensively, but neither is Casas in that regard. At the very least, Belt wouldn’t represent any sort of defensive downgrade from Casas, and there’s no fielding wizard left on the bench. The Red Sox used utilityman Pablo Reyes at first base in Casas’ first game out Sunday, and Bobby Dalbec will man the position Tuesday night when the Sox open a three-game set in Cleveland.

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There’s not much organizational depth at the position, either. Maybe it’s time to give Niko Kavadas a look. The Sox drafted Kavadas out of Notre Dame in 2021 for his considerable pop. He hit 22 home runs in 117 games while splitting time between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester (while striking out 172 times). He has cut down on the strikeouts this year in 15 games with Worcester where he has four home runs and a 1.089 OPS in 15 games. Still, it would be a pretty considerable jump for someone who hasn’t really sniffed the big leagues yet.

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One other advantage to looking at Belt is he would bring veteran leadership to the mix. He has 13 years of big league experience and has played well on the biggest stage in the sport. His teammates rave about him. It would also send a strong message to the current clubhouse that the team wants to compete this season. Alex Cora and his team have done a nice job staying afloat to start the season. The Sox are just 2 1/2 games back in the American League East despite a rash of injuries. Signing Belt, even knowing he’ll have to take some time to ramp up, would be a nice reward for the early-season progess.

Of course, the Red Sox might ultimately believe Casas will return sooner than expected and they ultimately don’t have to go outside the organization. The price tag for someone like Belt is an X-factor, too. He made $9.3 million last season in Toronto, and much has been made about Boston’s financial parameters. While Belt presumably would make less this season, it wouldn’t take much for a market to heat up. He would make a ton of sense for a team like Houston where the Jose Abreu problem (4-for-59, 17 strikeouts) is a major issue. The other team in his home state, the Texas Rangers, would make sense, too.

Regardless, the Red Sox should at least kick the tires. They have kept the train on the tracks despite early-season adversity, and they don’t need to let an injury like this — as unfortunate as it might be — derail their season.

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images