Carlos Beltran is coming to the Giants. Rejoice.
Though it hasn’t been made official-official yet, the Giants have agreed to send minor league pitcher Zach Wheeler to the Mets for Beltran and cash, giving the Giants the best hitter available on the market and significantly upgrading their anemic offense. Beltran becomes arguably the best overall hitter on the team, solidifies the middle of the lineup, and helps offset the loss of Buster Posey’s bat. He’s exactly the kind of hitter the Giants need if they’re serious about repeating as World Series champions.
Did the Giants give up too much, though? Wheeler was considered by many to be the Giants’ top pitching prospect and is generally assumed to be a future front-of-the-rotation starter. It’s never easy to give up a prospect of his caliber, especially when it’s for a rental player like Beltran.
One thing to consider: Sabean and his top lieutenants have a tremendous track record when it comes to recognizing which young pitchers to keep, and which to trade. Take a look at some of the minor league pitchers Sabean has dealt during his tenure with the Giants: Lorenzo Barcelo, Keith Foulke, Bobby Howry, Jim Stoops, Ken Vining, Jason Brester, Darin Blood, Mike Villano, Mike Pageler, Joe Fontenot, Nate Bump, Jason Grilli, Todd Ozias, Francisco Liriano, Tim Alderson… the list goes on and on. Of that list, Liriano was the biggest loss but the Giants were concerned about his arm durability (and he blew out his elbow a few years after the trade). Foulke and Howry had nice careers. Grilli, a former 4th overall draft pick, is a journeyman. The jury is still out on Alderson, but he’s stuck in Double A. The rest of the names, along with a few others I’m just too lazy to type out, are completely forgettable.
So if Sabean and his crew are comfortable trading Wheeler, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. As desperate as the Giants are for offense, I still have a hard time believing they’d give up a guy they thought would turn into a number one starter for a 2-month rental. It’s highly possible that the internal opinion of Wheeler was much, much different than everyone else’s opinion. Wheeler may still go on to have a nice career, but the Giants obviously thought he was expendable.
What Wheeler does in his career is no longer a concern of the Giants, though. Carlos Beltran is here, the Giants’ lineup is suddenly a lot more imposing, and they’ve positioned themselves for another deep October run. Today, that’s all that matters.
Now if only they’d go get a catcher.