Sports Illustrated baseball writer Jon Heyman is reporting via Twitter that the price tag for Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran is coming down, stating that New York is "off Minor, D. Brown, Wheeler, etc now."
The San Francisco Giants are one of the teams that has been considered a possible destination for Beltran, who is seen as the top trade deadline prize for 2011, currently hitting .289 with 15 home runs and 65 RBI.
But so far the main obstacle in San Francisco's path to acquiring the switch-hitting slugger has been that the New York Mets have required top prospects in exchange, including prized right-hander Zack Wheeler.
Now that the Mets are reportedly lowering the stakes, the Giants, who have had an increase in revenue following their 2010 World Series victory and are willing to purchase the remainder of Beltran's $6 million contract, may very well get their man.
According to SI's Heyman, the other team that remains a serious contender in the Beltran Sweepstakes is the Atlanta Braves
One key obstacle in Atlanta's path is that the Mets are division rivals and may not want to send Beltran to the Braves.
With San Francisco's impediment of having to give up too many good prospects removed, the Giants now appear to be the front-runners for Beltran.
The Giants with Beltran
If the Giants do acquire Beltran, adding him to a lineup that is beginning to show signs of life following a dismal first half offensively (currently ranked toward the very bottom of the league in most offensive categories), San Francisco could become the National League favorite to once again reach the World Series in 2011.
Right fielder Nate Schierholtz has become a presence in the lineup in his first season as a full-time player, currently hitting .287 with seven home runs and 36 RBI (he's hitting .342 for the month of July).
Rookie Brandon Belt, who has been sensational in the minors this season, is back with the club and should contribute offensively as well.
The addition of Beltran to this lineup could turn the Giants into a middle-of-the-pack offense in the National League, a significant jump from the bottom where they currently reside.
With arguably the best all-around pitching staff in the big leagues, this could propel them deep into the postseason as they try to repeat as world champions.
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