San Francisco obtained the run producer it desperately needed Wednesday by acquiring outfielder Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets for Zack Wheeler, the top pitching prospect in the Giants organization.
The Beltran-to-Giants deal has yet to be finalized, but it’s a matter of time before it becomes official. The deal, as we know it currently, is a Beltran for Zack Wheeler swap. Rory has already covered the bulk of this trade, and I think I largely agree with his position.
Rory summed up a large part of his feelings as:
Here’s why I like the deal: I’m very, very comfortable with the Giants’ ability to evaluate their pitching prospects. I really, really am. The Giants know pitchers. They kept Madison Bumgarner in 2010, when it might have been attractive to move him, and even though his velocity was down and, some thought, he might be hurt. In 2009, they flipped Tim Alderson for Freddy Sanchez, Sanchez got hurt but Alderson collapsed, and the Giants eventually won the World Series. Sanchez certainly helped them to.
I agree. It’s hard not to value the Giants’ opinion when it comes to pitching talent. The team has shown a remarkable ability to develop pitchers and hang on to the ones they deem worthy. However, I don’t think the Giants are infallible from making pitching-related mistakes. They are, after all, human.
Andrew Baggarly theorized that the Giants might be down on Wheeler’s value right now:
As for Wheeler, if he’s indeed the big piece, the Giants’ willingness to trade him would indicate one of two things: Their desperation to add offense has risen, or, more likely, their internal evaluations of his stuff/ceiling are not quite what they were when they drafted him 10th overall two years ago. Wheeler’s strikeout rate is high, but he hasn’t exactly Bumgarnered his way through the minor leagues.
I disagree with Baggs on a couple of things in this snippet. Dealing Wheeler really feels more of a desperate attempt to add offense than his stock dropping via internal evaluations. The majority of scouts still drool over Wheeler’s abilities. The Giants should be desperate to fix an offense that’s the worst in the National League. I also dislike the phrase: … “he hasn’t exactly Bumgarned his way through the minor leagues” because it implies that there’s something wrong with pitchers that don’t move as swiftly through the minor league ranks as Bumgarner. Bumgarner’s development path is the exception, not the rule. Rarely do you see pitchers move as quickly as he has. Madison threw his first pitch in the majors at age 19. That’s incredible and it’s not something you should expect from every pitcher, even ones developed by the Giants.
The Giants needed to add offense and Beltran is the guy to add if you’re looking for offense. Still, at the back of my mind, I’ve got this nagging voice wondering if the Giants could find nearly equal upgrades by fixing — or adding anyone not named Whiteside / Stewart — their catcher issues. This might be where you ask me who the Giants would add, and I really don’t know the answer to that question. The team’s depth at catcher is so poor that finding an upgrade shouldn’t be Mission Impossible.
I hate to see Wheeler go, but as pitching prospects go, they sometimes fizzle out. At this moment, he’s an electric arm with a lot of promise. It’s hard to say where he’ll end up. I’m excited to have Beltran for the next few months, and I hope he goes all 2004 Houston on us. I like shiny new things, but I still feel like I’m waffling a bit on this trade.
Regardless, it will be cool to see Beltran hitting third tonight for the Giants. And for now, I’m happy enough with that feeling.