The Texas Rangers had ramped up their pursuit of Carlos Beltran in recent weeks as the MLB trade deadline was fast approaching. As late as Tuesday the Rangers were considered the favorite to land Beltran by offering a package of more prospects than any other team.
Then the San Francisco Giants decided to part with their top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler and Beltran was on his way to the Bay Area. The deal works out for the Giants as they get an All-Star outfielder who is batting .291 while hitting 15 home runs, 30 doubles and driving in 64 runs. The Mets also get the top tier pitching prospect they desired greatly.
A win-win right? Try win-win-win.
Despite not landing the biggest name on the market, the Texas Rangers are also big winners with this deal. The Rangers will not miss Carlos Beltran the rest of this season nor will they regret trading the prospects they reportedly would have dealt.
2004 was the last time Carlos Beltran was in the American League when he was a member of the Kansas City Royals. Needless to say, a lot has changed in seven years.
Reports surfaced that Beltran did not want to be traded to an American League team and he eventually got his wish. But say he had been traded to Texas, how would he have acted?
I have not heard anything of Beltran being a negative influence in the clubhouse, but would he be frustrated that his wishes were not listened to? Would he have even accepted a trade to Texas? He does not know the pitchers in the American League nearly as well as he does in the National, so when he faced a rough stretch of guessing the wrong pitches, would he have shown his frustration and lashed out?
The last thing the Rangers needed is a negative clubhouse influence while they are competing for a division title. In the end he is with a team that needs him and his wishes to stay in the National League were honored.
The Texas Rangers would have had to give up more to land Beltran than the San Francisco Giants. The Mets were enamored with Giants prospect Zach Wheeler. He was to the Mets what Justin Smoak was to the Seattle Mariners at last year's deadline.
Reports surfaced the weekend prior to the deal that the Mets were scouting the Rangers High-A affiliate in Hickory, N.C. That means they were either looking at fillers in a potential deal or that they were scouting Jurickson Profar as the headline name.
There had been numerous reports that Profar, Martin Perez and Leonys Martin were untouchable in any Beltran deal but to sway the Mets away from Wheeler they would have to put in a prospect that has a higher upside. The Rangers were hoping a deal with two or three decent prospects would be enough to overshadow one top tier prospect but to no avail.
If the Mets did want Profar in a deal, the Rangers easily made the right move not pouncing on Beltran as Profar is worth far more than a two month rental.
Beltran's contract was the main reason the Mets only received one prospect in a deal for the 2011 All-Star. Beltran has a clause in his contract that prevents him from being offered arbitration at the end of the year.
If the Rangers would have traded for Beltran, they would not have been rewarded with draft picks when he signs with another team after the season. He most assuredly would not be brought back to Arlington because the outfield is already crowded with Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy along with Leonys Martin and Julio Borbon down on the farm.
One of the good things about the Cliff Lee deal was that he brought the Rangers a draft pick when he signed elsewhere. They tried hard to sway him back to Texas, but when he decided to go to Philadelphia they were covered by the draft pick. With Beltran, the Rangers are basically giving up two to three good prospects for a two month player with no way of being compensated once he left. This prevents an infusion of good, young talent in the farm system that will help sustain title runs in the future.
If the Rangers were to make this trade they would have to be convinced that Beltran would lead them to a title this year because if they fail it will greatly effect all parts of the organization.
Ask any Rangers fan to name the biggest need at this year’s deadline and you will probably hear the same answer – bullpen help.
Just ask Ron Washington and he'll tell you the same.
In an article by T.R. Sullivan, Ron Washington said, "There is no secret we are trying to fortify the bullpen. That's a priority of course."
The Rangers bullpen in 2010 was a force on a World Series team, but in 2011 the bullpen has been one of the worst in the league. If the Rangers trade for Beltran they will be diverting resources that should be used to land a big name reliever like Heath Bell, Mike Adams or Tyler Clippard pictured above.
The seventh and eighth inning have been killers for the Rangers and landing Bell, Adams or Clippard would provide that shutdown setup man for closer Neftali Feliz. It’s nice to have an amazing offense, but pitching is so much more important in the playoffs than the ability to hit the ball out of the park – just ask the San Francisco Giants.
Even if the Rangers don’t view bullpen help as a big need, offense is definitely the least needed asset for this team. I would rather trade a few good prospects and try to land Ubaldo Jimenez or James Shields to fortify the rotation that lacks playoff experience as starters outside of C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis.
The Rangers own one of the best offenses in all of the game. They currently sit second in all of baseball in average, home runs, runs and doubles. Add Beltran to that mix and you have arguably the most dangerous offense in all of baseball.
But they already have the second best in the majors, so how much is that top spot really worth? Sure the lineup would have been historic, but Beltran just was not needed.
The Giants proved last year that you don't need a prolific offense to win a World Series. You need an amazing starting rotation and home field advantage doesn't hurt.
Then the question of defense comes into play. Beltran was once a Gold Glove center fielder, but those days are gone. He’s slower and does not cover near as much as ground as he used to.
Range Factor is a stat used to depict how much range a fielder has in comparison to other players in the league. The average Range Factor for outfielders is 2.18 – Beltran comes in at 1.72. A below average fielder is not what one of the worst defensive teams in the league needs.
Also, Beltran has been playing right field for the majority of the season. This conflicts with Rangers starting right fielder Nelson Cruz. This also brings in the question of what to do with Josh Hamilton. Hamilton is a good center fielder but was switched to left this season to hopefully prevent injuries. Do the Rangers switch him back to center and risk the toll his body will take and convert Beltran to left field?
All in all, this trade would have caused more headaches than anything else.