The July trade deadline is just days away, and the latest move will send New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran
to the San Francisco Giants for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler
There was a great deal of speculation about who the Mets would receive in return for Beltran, but barring any sort of unforeseen development, the deal is Beltran for Wheeler and monetary considerations. Joel Sherman of the New York post tweeted
that the only holdup in the deal is the 10/5 rule of MLB's collective bargaining agreement
, making the wait more of a formality than any sort of real delay. Sherman also reported that the Mets will pay $4 million of the $6 million left on Beltran's contrac
Beltran, age 34, is a six-time all-star and was the 1999 AL rookie of the year, but injuries slowed him greatly in 2009 and 2010 and he notched just 145 combined games in that span. This season, though, has been a different story for Beltran, as his .289 batting average, .391 on-base percentage, league-leading 30 doubles, and 15 home runs have been some of the brightest spots of the Mets offense. His health issues have robbed him of his once great base-stealing prowess (he averaged 27 steals per season from 1999 to 2008), but otherwise Beltran now looks a lot like the player who smacked 41 home runs for New York in 2006.
Beltran's bat is a huge addition to the struggling San Francisco Giants offense, who have scuffled greatly in attempts to keep up with the club's dynamic pitching staff. He'll be expected to be a primary run producer for the defending World Series champs, and there's no reason to think he isn't up to the challenge. He should slot into the heart of the Giants batting order and become their go-to RBI man for the remainder of the season.
The Mets, on the other hand, are likely excited to welcome prospect Zack Wheeler to their club. The 21 year-old righthander is just in Single-A ball right now, but his ceiling is very high and his 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) rate suggests that he has the potential to become a dominant hurler down the line. His 3.99 career ERA is less impressive, but as he harnesses his mid-90s fastball and his sharp curveball, he should be capable of cutting down on baserunners and working cleaner innings. According to Baseball America, Wheeler was the Giants' number three overall prospect entering 2011
, which bodes extremely well for his future. Some analysts contend that giving up such a potent prospect for just three months of Beltran was unwise, which is high praise considering Wheeler hasn't even reached Double-A yet.
From a fantasy baseball perspective, this trade is a lateral or possibly a slightly negative move for Beltran. He won't have the same caliber of hitters surrounding him as he did in the New York Mets order (particularly with David Wright
hitting behind him), but he'll still be given his share of RBI opportunities. There's very little reason to think that Beltran won't continue his solid 2011 campaign and help carry the Giants into the playoffs.