Amidst the lineup introductions during the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Giants All-Star closer Brian Wilson stirred the proverbial trade rumor pot by calling out Mets All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran.
Wilson noted that there were rumors surrounding a potential trade between the Giants, and the Mets that would send the veteran outfielder to San Francisco where Wilson stated, "They would be happy to welcome him." (Fox Sports, July 12, 2011)
That trade has finally been put in place and Beltran should be heading to San Francisco pending the waiving of his "no trade" clause which he is expected to do.
Beltran has already stated that he would be willing to waive the clause pending a trade to a contending team.
A number of teams were also rumored to have interest in the 34-year-old who is currently hitting .289 with 15 home runs and 66 runs batted in.
In addition to the Giants, the Phillies, Rangers and Braves were rumored to be among the most active suitors of Beltran's services. However, over the past few days, the Giants emerged as the front runners for a trade as other teams backed out of negotiations.
The Mets will apparently pick up roughly $4 million of the $5 million owed to Beltran for the duration of the season before he becomes a free agent.
In return, the Mets acquire Giants pitching prospect Zach Wheeler, a former first-round draft pick who apparently sealed the deal.
This trade significantly improves the Giants for at least the duration of the 2011 season. San Francisco's lackluster offense, riddled by injury and slumps, remains at the bottom of the National League.
Their 371 total runs scored ranks 15th out of 16 NL clubs. Beltran is expected to bolster those numbers significantly and add some presence in the middle of the Giants lineup.
The Giants stellar rotation and serviceable bullpen have kept them atop the National League Western Division despite their underachieving offense.
With starters like Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and resurgent Ryan Vogelsong, the trading of Wheeler does not appear to put the Giants at a major disadvantage in the future.
The trade however does spell some potential problems for the Giants to solve. San Francisco already has a crowded outfield consisting of Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, Nate Schierholtz, Aaron Rowand and Andres Torres.
A potential scenario could see the trading of Rowand to Philadelphia, who are seeking additional power from a right-handed bat, pending the Giants cover a significant portion of Rowand's remaining contract.
In addition, Burrell, who has played little over the past month, could be released. Torres, who blossomed during the Giants' 2010 World Series run, may also see a reduced role.
Regardless of which moves the Giants make in order to make room for Beltran, the trade provides a substantial upgrade to their offense which has been abysmal thus far. It also does little to compromise the existing Giants pitching strength.
If the Giants hope to repeat as World Series champions, let alone make the playoffs again, such moves should be considered necessary.
Now Beltran just has to approve the deal, which sources close to him say he is about to do.
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