Carlos Beltran Appears Headed To The Giants
The San Francisco Giants appear to have won the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes. Several major media sources have indicated that the trade of Beltran to the Giants is imminent and will be completed on Thursday.
Assuming this is true, we can first thank the Giant fans for making this trade a reality. The Giants have sold out every home game this year which has given the team money to spend.
All signs indicate that the Giants have sealed the deal. In addition to Zack Wheeler being sent to New York, the Giants will pay $2 million to cover a portion of the remaining amount of Beltran's 2011 salary, which is roughly $6 million. There were many other organizations looking to make a deal with the Mets, including Philadelphia, Atlanta and Texas.
General Manager Brian Sabean got ownership buy in to increase the payroll and the sellout crowds and enthusiasm at AT&T Park sure helped. Not all of the other teams looking to acquire Beltran were willing to give up prospect and pay a part of Beltran's contract. This factor weighed heavily in the Giants' favor.
Is this a good trade for the Giants?
I believe it is. Let's examine five key reasons why this was a great move for the Giants.
If initial reports are true and the Giants have completed a deal with the Mets for Zack Wheeler and two other prospects, this is a great deal for the Giants. Many baseball analysts expected the Giants to have to part with at least two of their top three prospects, Wheeler, Gary Brown and Brandon Belt.
The fact that the Giants only gave up one of their three top prospects was a good thing for San Francisco.
Zack Wheeler was pitching in A-ball with the San Jose Giants. He has a good fastball in the low to mid 90's and a plus breaking ball. The main thing for Wheeler is to gain experience and command, typical of most young pitching prospects.
The 21 year old Wheeler is currently 7-5 with an ERA of 3.99. He has struck out 98 hitters in 88 innings of work, but has allowed 47 walks, which goes back to my comment about needing to improve his command.
Realistically, Wheeler was at least two years away from making an impact in the Majors. You never know how young pitchers are going to turn out. For the most part, the young pitchers Sabean has traded away have not made huge impacts with their new organizations.
Looking back, I remember young pitchers like Boof Bonser, Kurt Ainsworth, Jesse Foppert, Scott Barnes, Tim Alderson and Jeremy Accardo all being traded. None of these pitchers achieved great success.
While it is true they made mistakes trading young pitchers Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano, the Giants have generally not made major blunders when giving up their young pitching talent.
Time will tell if Wheeler becomes a star, but with the hitting woes currently facing the Giants, I believe this deal was well worth the risk.
Atlanta and Philadelphia also wanted Beltran
The Giants' two main National League obstacles standing in the way of a return trip to the World Series are Philadelphia and Atlanta. Both of these teams have strong pitching, but are considered better than the Giants offensively.
Philadelphia wanted Beltran as a corner outfielder taking over the spot currently being shared by Domonic Brown and John Mayberry. If they were successful in acquiring Beltran, it would have widened the offensive gap between the Phillies and the Giants.
Atlanta was also in the hunt for Beltran. The Braves just lost their top hitter Brian McCann to an oblique strain, as he was placed on the 15 day disabled list.
By completing the trade for Beltran, not only have the Giants strengthened themselves, they also prevented their two toughest opponents from getting him.
Carlos Beltran has 11 post season home runs
Carlos Beltran has an excellent track record of success in the post season. The Giants are hoping that trend continues.
In four previous post season series', Beltran has 82 at bats with 11 home runs, 19 RBI and a .366 batting average. His on base percentage is .485 and slugging percentage a phenomenal .817. The Giants will be counting on Beltran's veteran presence and track record for post season productivity.
If Beltran plays well for the Giants, they will also consider offering him a longer term contract or extension, similar to what they did for 2010 heroes Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff.
Carlos Beltran gives the Giants a switch hitter with power
The San Francisco Giants desperately needed a middle of the order presence and it appears they got their man in Carlos Beltran. Currently only Pablo Sandoval and to a lesser degree Nate Schierholtz, have been consistent offensive threats for the Giants.
The loss of Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez, two of the top Giant hitters, due to injury has hindered the Giants' offense. Another key issue is that Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross, Andres Torres, Pat Burrell and Miguel Tejada have not met expectations.
The addition of Beltran will ease some of the pressure on the existing players and make the rest of the lineup a lot better. Many of the players were simply trying to do too much and ultimately getting themselves out.
Beltran is currently hitting a solid .289 with an OBP of .391. He has belted 15 home runs and has 66 RBI, both of which would lead the Giants' rather anemic offense. Beltran will likely bat third, in front of Pablo Sandoval, or fourth, right behind him. My educated guess is that he will bat fourth, in the clean up spot.
Two time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum
The San Francisco Giants have one of the best pitching staff's in baseball. Their starting rotation of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and either Jonathan Sanchez or Barry Zito is outstanding.
In addition, the Giants' bullpen is arguably the best in baseball. Closer Brian Wilson is one of the best in the game and anchors the relief corps.
Setup men Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt have pitched very well, as have Santiago Casilla, Ramon Ramirez and Guillermo Mota.
Excellent pitching can be a very fleeting thing, so when you have it, as the Giants do right now, it's important to capitalize. The Giants have a unique window where their top three starters, Lincecum, Cain and Bumgarner, as well as closer Wilson, are all under 30 years of age.
Pitchers can get injured or simply lose effectiveness, so the Giants felt their window of opportunity was now. top flight pitching and some timely hitting led the Giants to their first World Series title in San Francisco.
In acquiring Beltran, the Giants have now improved their hitting to go along with their stellar pitching . This move gives the Giants a far better chance to repeat as World Champions.
GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy work well together
The acquisition of Jeff Keppinger and Carlos Beltran have strengthened the Giants. GM Brian Sabean has made deals for these two and lost relatively little in return. By making these trades, Sabean has given manager Bruce Bochy the pieces in place to make a serious post season run in 2011.
Bochy has done a tremendous job juggling the lineup and dealing with several injuries. He deserves to be the NL Manager of the Year for the outstanding job he has done this year.
The Giants have one more move to make and that's for a second catcher. They need to strengthen this position as Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart have been very weak offensively and inconsistent defensively.
There are a few decent options available, including Ramon Hernandez, Ronny Paulino and Kurt Suzuki. If the Giants can complete a deal for one of these catchers, combined with the moves for Beltran and Keppinger, they have a legitimate chance to win it all again in 2011.