Somewhat lost in the excitement of yesterday’s three team, potentially fourteen player deal, was the San Francisco Giants’ acquisition of Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. No team in baseball was more in need of an offensive boost at the trade deadline and Beltran offered the biggest boost available. It seems like an obvious match and a fair price for a pitching deep team like the Giants to pay.
Here’s what others are saying:
A lot can go wrong in baseball between the backwater bus rides and the bright lights of the big city, so nobody is sure whether Sandy Alderson moved the Mets closer to a parade to be named later by reportedly trading Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants for Wheeler, the sixth overall pick of the 2009 draft.
But this much is already clear: Alderson knows what he is doing, and then some. Yes, Alderson had to pay a reported $4 million of Beltran’s wage to make it happen. But as a 6-foot-3 right-hander from Georgia who was everybody’s all-American, Wheeler sounds like a $4 million gamble worth taking.
Wheeler is a beast of a pitching prospect, striking out more than 10 batters per 9 innings, with a thumbs-up from scouts for great stuff to boot. Beltran, meanwhile, is a 34-year-old Mister Glass — still a great player when healthy, but staying upright for the first time in three years. He’s also a free-agent-to-be whose contract stipulates he can’t be offered arbitration. That means at the end of the season, the Giants get nothing for their trouble. Flags may fly forever, but there’s a real risk that the Giants don’t get theirs, and that five years from now, the Mets will have their most electrifying pitcher since a healthy Johan Santana.
Presumably you know that sadness is a relative thing, and you can distinguish sadness for actual tragedies from the sadness we feel when a favorite baseball player is traded across the country to play out the final few months of his contract with a new team.
There’s no good reason to dwell on it now regardless. Any Mets fan paying attention the last couple of months has heard about and likely reasoned through Beltran’s being moved, a deal that makes a whole lot of sense for a club with little chance of a postseason berth in 2011.
You look at our offense’s inconsistency, we need some help there. Missing two players changes our lineup. There’s a little sense of urgency to see if we could do something to get this offense going. Carlos has all the tools that you look for in a player: great defense, hitting, he’s a switch-hitter, he can run, he’s got great instincts for the game and he plays the game right and plays the game hard.
From Opening Day to the official announcement Thursday, Beltran’s final year with the Mets couldn’t have gone any more smoothly. The Mets executives, in celebration, should treat themselves to their own steak dinner.
The Giants will inherit a masher at the plate who entered today’s games ranked third in the National League in extra-base hits. His former teammates wished him well; but they wished he hadn’t left.
But this has been about the future, ever since Alderson inherited this woebegone franchise last fall. Solving this latest puzzle represents one of his finest moves thus far.
Since 1980, there have been 1,371 outfielder seasons that qualified for the batting title. Ranked by OPS+, Beltran’s 151 mark ranks 99th out of all of them – and second among outfielders traded mid-season.
The only outfielder with a higher OPS+ to be traded mid-year since 1980 was Gary Sheffield. He posted a 155 OPS+ for the Marlins and Dodgers during a 1998 season that ranks 77th among outfield offensive seasons since 1980.
Beltran said he had a good time (albeit admitting it was weird) hanging with his future team on Air Bochy. He and Mets All-Star Jose Reyes went straight to the back of the plane to not interfere with the Giants’ contingent, but Beltran was comforted when Pablo Sandoval decided to sit with him.
Manager Bruce Bochy, a big Beltran fan, paid a visit. Bochy not only chose Beltran over Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen for the initial All-Star roster but told Beltran aboard the plane that he’d be in the NL lineup as the designated hitter.
Somehow this lean decade, surely to be expanded by the end of this not-so-terrible season, has become identified, if not downright labeled, as the Carlos Beltran era. The poor man has become the symbol of failed expectations.
The Mets and Giants came to an agreement on a trade for Beltran on Wednesday, the kind of housekeeping-bookkeeping maneuver that has become common in the time of free agency. The Mets will receive a prospect named Zack Wheeler, who was selected in the first round of the 2009 draft.
For me, personally, it’s a sad day because I love Carlos. I think he’s a great teammate. He’s a fantastic guy and he’s a valuable piece to a puzzle that’s trying to win, obviously, or we wouldn’t have been trading him. We’re not mailing it in by any stretch of the imagination. But obviously, this will make it harder than it was before. There’s no doubt about that and it’s the truth.
I’m impressed, I have to admit. You just don’t get a kid like this, especially a pitcher, for a rental in this day and age when everyone holds onto their prospects for dear life.
Even with all the interest in Beltran, I didn’t think Sandy would do this well. I’m not saying it’s a bad deal for the Giants. It might help them win a championship. I’m just saying it goes against everything you see these days. To me it just shows the Mets are in good hands now.