The most sought after player on the trading block in 2011 was Carlos Beltran, and there’s no doubt about that. There were several teams in on the bidding of Beltran, according to reporters such as Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman, ranging from the Phillies, Braves, Rangers, Red Sox, and of course, the Giants.
If you like to keep it short and simple, here it is: the Giants have the worst offense among all playoff contenders after the loss of Buster Posey, and Brian Sabean has recognized the transformation his team has gone though in a short period.
The Giants are now reaching a rare point in a franchise that’s outside of Boston and New York- They’re selling out every game as the defending World Series Champions with extreme ease. They have also been overcoming injuries and “over-achieving”, proclaimed by their own GM.
That statement alone was the main reason why I was no where near surprised when I woke up today, logged on the Twitter account, and came to realize what was happening- Brian Sabean, yes Brian Sabean, accepted a deal for a rental player, trading away one of his top pitching prospects, Zack Wheeler (not yet official).
Sabean doesn’t prefer trading away top prospects as he’s shown, though he seems to have quite a strong judgement on the players that he’s moving- here’s a list: Lorenzo Barcelo, Keith Foulke, Bobby Howry, Jim Stoops, Ken Vining, Jason Brester, Darin Blood, Mike Villano, Mike Pageler, Joe Fontenot, Nate Bump, Jason Grilli, Todd Ozias, Francisco Liriano, Tim Alderson (courtesy of GoldenGateGiants.com)
Beltran is hitting .289/.391/.513 with 15 home runs in 419 plate appearances with a wOBA of .392, OPS of .904, and wRC+ of 152, in what has already become his healthiest season since 2008. Beltran is sleighed to hit 3rd in front of Sandoval, and without a doubt, will become the Giants best offensive player by any measure you look at outside of speed.Beltran wasn’t added to help in the NL West race. Their pitching alone combined with “enough”– if you like to call it that– offense will get them the NL West title for a second year in a row. What Beltran was added for was October– the original reason the Mets signed him to that lengthy and expensive contract. If Beltran can have steady success in the 40-50 AB’s he’ll get in the playoffs with the Giants, that would make this deal a success in the minds of any Giants fan, and the front office.
The catch with Beltran that most people already understand, is that he’s a rental player in every aspect- free agent after this season, a Scott Boras client, and non-arbitration eligible- meaning the Giants will get no draft picks in return for Beltran– who without a doubt will be a Type-A free agent– at the end of the season.
I have to trust Sabean on this one despite how others may feel about him. He’s come to terms with the current position his team is in and either a) has settled on the fact that Wheeler’s ceiling is not very high, as he’s done in the past or b)simply was willing to pay the price of a future front of the rotation type pitcher to strengthen this team’s chances this season.
While I believe that Wheeler was a bit much too pay for Beltran, if it works out the way that Brian Sabean has clearly forecasted than the price was ultimately right. There’s simply a difference between a Single-A prospect with “nasty” stuff and much improvement still to be made, than someone like Matt Moore of Tampa Bay’s farm system- a Double-A prospect with filthy stuff, polished command, great numbers, and an overall MLB-ready demeanor.
I’m more on the side that Wheeler is “legit” and will be a “stud” some time in the future and despite feeling he’s too high a price to pay, I have no issue with an exchange for another run at a World Series- because that’s the ultimate goal.
I’ll offer a simple conclusion with this: prospects are not guaranteed. That’s why there’s 50 rounds in the draft, scouts who get criticized to the ultimate degree, and many GM’s who get questioned on a daily basis. To only a certain extent, can you project and predict.
I’m not going completely on either side with this one- I wanted a bat, but I liked Zack Wheeler. I’ll probably be second guessing myself and Brian Sabean sometime in the future, but hey- that’s baseball
– About $6.5MM of Beltran’s contract remains, of which the Mets are assuming $4MM in the trade.
– Beltran will likely start every game in RF, while Ross/Schierholtz platoon in LF. While it is unknown if Beltran requested to only RF, it seems likely.