Carlos Beltran to the Giants sounded like any other rumor -- until the Giants got all buddy-buddy with Beltran this week and the Mets traded K-Rod to the Brewers for two players to be named later.
And here we thought the biggest news item after the All-Star Game was Jay Bruce big-timing Brian Wilson during the celebratory high-five procession, after Wilson locked down a 5-1 victory for the National League. Instead, the Mets traded away Francisco Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers ... for two players to be named later. One Mets rental down, two to go? Well, many think Jose Reyes is already either "secretly" working on an extension with the Mets or that New York would ask too much for him in a trade. But Carlos Beltran, on the other hand...
Even though there are several reasons why the Giants wouldn't trade for Beltran, the list of indicators pointing toward the Giants adding a guy whose postseason slash line is .366/.485/.817 in 22 games is growing ever longer, especially now that the Mets are perceived to be in full firesale mode:
- Brian Sabean said he'd be fine with a rental player, as long as he was a "difference maker."
- Owned by Fred Wilpon(zi scheme), the Mets are in the mood to save some money. Even though K-Rod punched his father-in-law and is generally thought to be a pain in the ass, he's still a pretty decent closer. Trading an asset like that for 2 PTBNL doesn't make the Mets look like they're willing to stick it out in the difficult NL East.
- The Giants have sold out every game so far. They have money to spare.
- Beltran said he'd be cool with a trade to San Francisco. Yes, right before he said approving a trade to Boston would be "an easy one," but with Josh Beckett tweaking his knee warming up on Tuesday, the Red Sox may have other worries than adding to the highest-scoring offense in baseball.
- Beltran took a plane with a bunch of Giants to the All-Star Game, and we all know tampering rules don't apply in the sky. Or is that international waters?
While the Giants could use some offense at pretty much every position besides third base, there are reasons to believe they should go after middle infield help before trading for a prospect -- or two -- away for a guy who hasn't been a good center fielder since 2008 (or a center fielder at all since 2010). The more playing time Nate Schierholtz has received, the better he's played -- especially since he changed his batting stance. Cody Ross hasn't done much in about a month, but are the Giants really ready to toss aside their offensive MVP during the 2010 playoffs? Or Pat Burrell, who'd probably go straight to the Phillies and find some way to make the Giants pay before the end of October?
The truth is the Giants would do best to laugh at all those reasons I just listed for not trading for Beltran, and improve their offense whatever way they can. And by what Brian Wilson said on Tuesday in explaining why he made a "not-so-subtle plea" for Beltran while reading the NL lineup on Fox (“Carlos Beltran, the guy's a phenomenal hitter, a switch hitter. There’s talks of him coming over to the Giants. More than welcome. Come on over, pal.”), the Giants pitchers are hungry for some extra run production to ensure their incredible staff-wide performance isn't wasted this season -- or they can at least have some breathing room from time to time.
I guess we’re in talks and we’re talking about Beltran,’’ he said. "Everyone knows he’s a perennial hitter. He can only help our squad. I think we have a good thing going already — we are in first place.
At this point it seems like the Giants either need to make a deal for Beltran or Sabean needs to come out and squash the rumors (if he even can at this point -- and in a related note Sabean may have a few things to say to Wilson about keeping his thoughts on trade rumors to himself). Otherwise we're left to wonder who the Giants would have to part with. After all, Beltran never punched a family member on company property. And proven bats are rarer these days than skilled yet crazy relievers. No, two PTBNL probably won't cut it in this case.
Would it take Jonathan Sanchez, and would the Giants dare part with him based on a good first half from Ryan Vogelsong and three good starts from Barry Zito? Zach Wheeler and Gary Brown would appear to be off the table; would that kill a possible deal with Beltran? Whoever it might take, if the Giants do pull off a deal for Beltran, it will be much bigger news than Bruce's postgame celebration snub of Wilson.