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Mets hold firm, get best available prospect for Carlos Beltran

Jul 27, 2011, 11:13 PM EDT

Carlos Beltran AP

UPDATE, 11:13 PM: Beltran has accepted the trade, which will be made official on Thursday morning.

3:30 PM: It’s not official yet — because Carlos Beltran has no-trade protection, he can’t be officially moved until 24 hours after the deal is agreed to — but all indications are that the Mets are sending their All-Star right fielder and cash to the Giants for top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler.

And that’s a very good pickup for the Mets.  Wheeler isn’t one of the game’s top five pitching prospects, but he may be in the top 10 and he’s almost certainly in the top 15.  Pitching for Single-A San Jose in the high-offense California League, the sixth overall pick from the 2009 draft is 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA and a 98/47 K/BB ratio in 88 innings this season.  He’s struck out 168 batters and walked 85 in 146 2/3 innings as a pro.

Wheeler has an excellent delivery and does a better job of generating velocity with his legs than most.  His curveball rates as one of the best strikeout pitches in the minors.  ProjectProspect.com had a great scouting report on him from a couple of months ago, including some GIFs of his windup.

Considering that the Mets weren’t even going to get a draft pick or two if Beltran left as a free agent this winter, it’s a great return for them.  Wheeler probably won’t contribute until 2013, but he could be a top-of-the-rotation guy if things break right.

As for the Giants, they get the middle-of-the-order bat they believed they needed to help their chances of repeating this October.  The only problem there is that they’ve actually gotten more production from left field and right field than any other positions this year.  Here’s how their team OPS by position breaks down:

LF: .733
RF: .730
3B: .712
CF: .691
C: .687
1B: .676
2B: .669
SS: .599

To make room for Beltran, either Nate Schierholtz or Cody Ross is going to take a seat.  Schierholtz has a .764 OPS that ranks second on the team to Pablo Sandoval‘s .834 mark.  Ross isn’t far behind at .746.  Both are also above average defenders in the outfield corners.

Really, though, it’s not such a big problem.  Ross has an .834 OPS against lefties, compared to a .720 mark versus righties.  Schierholtz has an .802 OPS against righties, as opposed to a .584 OPS versus lefties.  A straight platoon makes all kinds of sense, if manager Bruce Bochy is willing to reduce Ross’ role that significantly.  If Ross plays over Schierholtz against righties, then the Giants are probably hurting themselves.

But the Giants did need Beltran.  As long as he can stay healthy, the team is now in much better position to take down the Phillies in the postseason again.  A look at the new lineup:

CF Andres Torres
SS Mike Fontenot/2B Jeff Keppinger
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Carlos Beltran
1B Aubrey Huff
LF Nate Schierholtz/Cody Ross
2B Jeff Keppinger/SS Mike Fontenot, Miguel Tejada, Brandon Crawford
C Eli Whiteside

It’s still far from perfect.  Ideally, the Giants would still go get a catcher or a shortstop to replace Tejada on the roster.  It’s much improved, though.

  1. ThatGuy - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    $100 bucks the Mets rush him and ruin him because they are the Mets.

    • hittfamily - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:36 PM

      Or trade him for Victor Zambrano

    • Paul Zummo - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:42 PM

      I think you missed the memo: Sandy Alderson is the GM, not Omar Minaya.

      • dmitchell624 - Jul 27, 2011 at 6:12 PM

        I am sure he saw the memo, he just can’t read

    • steve keane - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:54 PM

      I guess the news did reach Asshatland but the Mets fired Omar Minaya and replaced him with Sandy Alderson so you can burry the same old Mets line

  2. thekcubrats - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    Ok, G need a bat. But if this goes through, Alderson got quite a haul for selling a rental. Wonder if Omar is watching?

    • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 4:24 PM

      Omar probably likes the Giants side of the deal.

      • dmitchell624 - Jul 27, 2011 at 6:13 PM

        I heard Omar commented and said “a sports writer tried to take his job”

      • Ari Collins - Jul 27, 2011 at 9:25 PM

        Omar says it ain’t what you takin’, it’s who you takin’ from. How you expect to run with the wolves come night when you spend all day sparring with the puppies?

  3. skerney - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    That “take down the phillies” line near the end is obvious pot stir-er. Nice.

  4. sup3rdup3r - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    I’d be careful when taking up Giants pitching prospects. Look at Sabeans history with trading pitching prospects, outside of the Joe Nathan trade, they’ve been incredibly consistent when evaluating pitching in trades. Everybody made noise when Pirates got Alderson for Sanchez but look how that turned out.

    Btw, he has the dreaded inverted W in his motion.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:43 PM

      Or maybe it’s just the high attrition rates on pitching prospects.

    • radiopirate - Jul 27, 2011 at 6:31 PM

      Actually, Nathan had progressed beyond “prospect” to the level of “Starter Currently on the DL and Facing Tommy John Surgery” when Sabean traded him… the real prospect in that trade was Francisco Liriano, who himself ended up on the Tommy John gurney. But I agree with your premise: Sabean generally doesn’t trade pitching prospects in whom he sees a high upside. And although the East Coast press will make you think the Mets are getting the next Matt Cain, Wheeler really has yet to show anyone that he’s on that trajectory.

      • skerney - Jul 28, 2011 at 2:15 AM

        Agreed, Joe Nathan was NOTHING with SF. He wasn’t mishandled, or not given a chance. He was always hurt and hadn’t figured it out yet. I’m glad he did, glad for the twins, glad for their fans. But Minnesota traded for Liriano, not Nathan. Nathan was one of those weird guys who figured it out late. It made sabean look bad, especially with the Benietez/Hawkins/ Herges bullpen that came next.

    • Ari Collins - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:14 PM

      Most pitching prospects don’t turn into anything. The Giants have traded guys who have turned into things and guys who haven’t, just like anyone else.

  5. sdelmonte - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    I can live with it. The Mets get a prospect, Beltran gets to compete, and the Willie Harris era begins in New York.

    Best of luck to Mr. Beltran. I was always a fan, and will be rooting for you when the Giants meet the Phils in the playoffs.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Jul 27, 2011 at 10:52 PM

      So you have the Giants disposing of the Braves pretty easily already, huh? This year, the Braves will have Uggla at Second Base, so I doubt it will be as easy without being handed 4 errors and 2 games in the NLDS.

  6. goawaydog - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Bochy has proved he can manage a roster … Beltran in left platoon Torres and rowand in center, Nate in right, Ross can play all 3 outfield positions, bye bye Pat B. Thank you for playing.

  7. Old Gator - Jul 27, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Not a peep out of our old friend and uber-Mutts fan BC – not for quite a few months now. In all seriousness, this worries me. Anyone out there connected with him offline know what’s up?

    • nategearhart - Jul 27, 2011 at 4:13 PM

      He’s the chipwich guy right? Been wondering about him too.

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 27, 2011 at 5:51 PM

      I’ve been asking that for a while now. People just up and disappear every now and then, with some coming back eventually. Guess it’s part of the mystique. Maybe he took on a different persona….

  8. APBA Guy - Jul 27, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Oh sure, if Beltran does in fact come to SF, it will again be impossible to get a late season walk-up ticket at AT&T. It used to be that once the tourists cleared out around mid-August it was no problem to walk up and walk right in. That changed last year. Now the Giants add a genuine talent to the outfield and in so doing perk up an already heated fan base. Rodents! Hmm. Wonder if there are any seats available across the Bay?

    • SOBEIT - Jul 27, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      stubhub….

      • sportsinhd - Jul 27, 2011 at 6:51 PM

        Precisely. Tickets are still pretty easy to get if you are willing to shell out the bucks for them.

        Supply and demand . . . . winning baseball brings the cockroaches who never watch out of their holes.

  9. Reggie's Bush - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Thanks for the years Beltran… we had a good run…

    /tear

    • skerney - Jul 28, 2011 at 2:10 AM

      Uh, no you didn’t. Strike three called.

      • homerosity - Jul 28, 2011 at 9:29 AM

        Uh, yes we did. Could be argued that he was the best center fielder the Mets ever had. Definitely one of the best outfielders (not saying THE best but he’s gotta be top 5).

      • Ari Collins - Jul 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

        So you’re judging him based on one PA? Really?

        Besides the fact that they wouldn’t have made the playoffs to begin with without his regular-season heroics that year (.275/.388/.594), he hit .296/.387/.667 with 3 HRs in the LCS that year.

        And, of course, there was his excellent regular season performance for the majority of his time with the Mets. It’s not his fault that Omar couldn’t build around him.

      • gnyj85 - Jul 28, 2011 at 10:06 AM

        Hes top 2…Beltran and Strawberry all time Mets OF. ANND in his prime, I’d say top 10 best defensive outfielders in the game. The man covered more ground than anyone..

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