By Michelle Dingley
It’s (mostly) official: Carlos Beltran is now a Giant.
Reports have come through today, Wednesday the 27th, that the Mets have made a deal with the Giants for the sought-after outfielder. The Giants have been seeking Beltran for weeks, but other teams have also wedged themselves into the trade talks, including the Phillies and the Braves. It’s not a sure thing yet, but it seems the Giants won the Beltran Sweepstakes.
The Giants want Beltran for his offensive presence. His numbers are excellent, especially compared to the Giants’ currently weak production. He has a career average of .282, with a .361 on-base percentage, .495 slugging, 295 homers and 1128 RBI. This year with the Mets, he’s batting .289 with .391 OBP, .513 slugging, 15 home runs and 66 RBI. He will bat in the middle of the order where we can take full advantage of his pop. Beltran, 34 years old and a 14 year veteran, has played in the outfield for his entire career (except for the occasional DH role). He has played mostly right field this year, but over his career he has played more in center. If his legs can handle roaming the large center field of AT&T Park, this would be the ideal place for him, with Andres Torres slumping. Considering Beltran’s age and previous injuries to his knees, a corner position would make more sense. It appears that this is the plan for Beltran. Nate “The Great” Schierholtz has reported that he will be moved from right to left to accommodate the newest Giant. Nate has played entirely in right field this year, and he has never played left field in the majors. AT&T Park’s right field is one of the most difficult to handle in the majors. It is an expansive area with multiple surfaces for the ball to bounce off, as well as Triples Alley to guard. It would be more logical to start Beltran in left.
Who the Giants are losing in exchange for Carlos Beltran has yet to be officially announced. Early this afternoon, the Giants were reportedly giving up center fielder Francisco Peguero and second baseman Charlie Culberson, both from Double-A. A few hours later, right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler was said to be the target. Wheeler was the one prospect that the Giants seemed unwilling to part with just days ago. He was drafted sixth overall in the first round of the 2009 draft. With Advanced-A San Jose this year, Wheeler is 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and just over a 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. These are not fantastic numbers, but young arms are very valuable. Hopefully the deal will be worth it.
There is a 24-hour waiting period, so nothing is 100% official, but this is as close as we have been to landing the big fish. We’ll cross our fingers that this will be the shot in the arm the Giants need. Expect updates as the deal develops.