The San Francisco Giants have acquired slugging outfielder Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets. The deal marks the Giants’ biggest offensive addition to the team since the 1993-2007 Barry Bonds era. To get Beltran the Giants sent top tier minor league pitcher Zack Wheeler to the Mets; Wheeler is considered one of the best prospects in San Francisco’s minor league organization.
According to FoxSports.com the Giants will also pay an estimated $2.5 million toward the remaining $6.5 million of Beltran’s $18.5m 2011 contract. Beltran signed a seven year $119m deal with the Mets in 2005
Thirty-four year old Carlos Beltran has been a premier slugger during his 14 year career, posting eight 100+ RBI seasons as a member of the Mets (2005-2011), Houston Astros (2004) and Kansas City Royals (1998-2004). Beltran is a six time All Star and played in the 2004 National League Championship Series for the Astros and in the 2006 National League Division Series with the Mets.
Two years ago a severe knee injury and the resulting surgery hampered Beltran, limiting him to 81 games in 2009 and 64 games in 2010.
The Giants picked Zack Wheeler #6 overall in the first round of the 2009 First Year Player Draft. This year Wheeler has played for the single-A San Jose Giants, posting a 7-5/3.00/1.38WHIP, striking out 98 hitters in 88 IP. Keith Law of Baseball America rated Wheeler as the 36th best prospect in baseball.
Wheeler was projected as a can’t miss addition to the Giants’ starting rotation in several years, but San Francisco has a core group of very young starters at the big league level who the team will attempt to lock up longterm: Tim Lincecum (27), Matt Cain (26), Jonathan Sanchez (23), and Madion Bumgarner (21).
It remains to be seen if the Giants are interested in signing Beltran after this season; certainly they have the money and if Beltran’s knees stay healthy he should be an offensive force for the next four years. With the return of Buster Posey in 2012, the emergence of Brandon Belt, and potent slugger Pablo Sandoval, Beltran’s signing could make the Giants everyday batting line-up one of the best in the National League next year.
The Giants gave up a lot to get Beltran but this is exactly the right trade at the right time. This team has been unable to consistently score runs this season and has seen the efforts of their outstanding starting staff wasted time after time in low scoring loses. Zack Wheeler may be a choice prospect but he is currently playing on a single-A team and his future as a Major League ball player is yet to be determined. Carlos Beltran not only has proven himself at the highest level, he is the offensive game-changer the Giants desperately need.
The Beltran trade brings the Giants up to the level of the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies– the two teams standing squarely between the San Francisco Giants and a second consecutive World Series Championship.