The answer, first: Yes. Emphatically, undeniably, unquestionably, yes.
San Francisco Giants G.M. Brian Sabean would have needed a run producer like Beltran even if catcher Buster Posey hadn't been the target of a human missile attack by the Marlins' Scott Cousins in late May.
Posey's injury robbed the club of its cleanup hitter, skilled catcher and poised field leader.
The sickening collision on May 25 also dropped a wet blanket on the festive atmosphere that had enveloped San Francisco since the city's first ever World Series title the previous November.
AT&T Park is still magical; just a tad less so sans Buster.
Without Posey, it was foreseeable, maybe even inevitable, that Sabean would need to boost his offense—just as he bolstered his bullpen in 2010 by trading for Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez.
Truth be told, the Giants offense was creaking even before Posey's injury.
The runs began evaporating over the winter, when Juan Uribe and his 24 HR, 85 RBI defected to Los Angeles (where he's delivered 28 RBI in Year 1 of a three-year deal paying him $21 million. Ha).
Miguel Tejada, Uribe's purported successor, contributed 24 RBI in 82 games before going on the disabled list in mid-July.
A year after Andres Torres delivered 16 HR, 63 RBI, stout defense and a legitimate lead-off threat, he's on pace to produce five and 30 while flailing at pitches as if his life depended on it.
Posey's replacements, Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart, have provided a meager three HR and 17 RBI.
Everywhere you look, run production is down. Huff. Rowand. Burrell. I could recite more gloomy statistics, but I suspect you get the point. And that is: Excluding Pablo Sandoval, Nate Schieroltz, and Freddy Sanchez prior to his season-ending shoulder injury, no one—zip, zero, nada—has produced at or near 2010 levels.
That includes Posey, who wasn't matching his 2010 production, either.
One example: As a rookie, Posey delivered an RBI every 6.6 plate appearances. As a sophomore, he was producing one run every 8.8 appearances (though, to be fair, Posey had hit in 13 straight games when Cousins bowled him over; perhaps he would have closed that production gap. Sadly, we'll never know).
We do know this: With or without Posey, the Giants needed another big bat. The next eight-plus weeks will tell us if they acquired the right one.