The most sought after player at this trade deadline will be none other than outfielder, Carlos Beltran. The 34-year-old is having his best season since 2008, clubbing 13 HRs with 58 RBIs at the break. Defensively, Beltran has posted a UZR of 4.0, one of the top marks among right fielders. Beltran will have roughly six million dollars remaining on his contract when the July 31st deadline hits, so expect Sandy Alderson to field numerous calls. It’s no secret that the San Francisco Giants are interested in Beltran, but here are four other destinations that the switch hitting All-Star could land.
1. San Francisco Giants (52-40). The Giants? Purely one dimensional. The Giants have the third lowest ERA in the National League (3.19), but have scored the second fewest runs. Outside of Pablo Sandoval, the Giants have been completely inept at the plate. Leading home run hitter? Aubrey Huff with 8(!!) Brian Wilson made it no secret that the team is interested in Beltran. Beltran would be an instant upgrade in right field over the struggling Cody Ross. The defending champs have said that lefty starter Jonathan Sanchez is off-limits, despite his struggles this season. Top prospect, first baseman, Brandon Belt is also off-limits. The Mets could get pitcher, Zack Wheeler and a few other prospects.
2. Boston Red Sox (55-35) The Red Sox need help. Their biggest need comes in the starting rotation, but adding Beltran’s bat to the middle of the lineup will help. Beltran would have to slide to left field, but the Red Sox are a fit. The Red Sox system is a bit depleted after dealing for Adrian Gonzalez, but they do have some quality arms (Michael Bowden comes to mind).
3. Detroit Tigers (49-43): The Tigers are a half game ahead of the Cleveland Indians. Magglio Ordonez has been an absolute disaster in right field (.217, 3 HRs) so the upgrade would be tremendous. The Tigers have the 24th best organization and don’t have any blue chip prospects that would be a fit on the Mets. Jacob Turner is off limits and the team lacks pitching.
4. Philadelphia Phillies (57-34): The Phillies have the best record and rotation in the game, but have obvious concerns in the lineup. The Phillies are seventh in the NL in runs scored and ninth in home runs. Rookie right fielder, Dominic Brown has had a tough transition thus far. Would the Mets trade Beltran to their hated division rival? The Phils would have to start a package with either Brody Colvin or Jarred Cosart, their two top pitching prospects. Ultimately, I just don’t see it happening.
5. New York Mets (46-45): The Mets are currently 7.5 game behind in the NL Wildcard race. If the team can put together a decent run over the next month, they may be inclined to keep him. Johan Santana is hopefully a month or so away from debuting and David Wright and Ike Davis shouldn’t be too far away from returning. Sandy Alderson must decide when it’s time to wave the white flag. They do have games against the Phillies right off the bat and if they fall 10+ back in the Wild Card race, Beltran is as good as gone. If they make a run, he must decide if he wants to play for now or the future.
The Mets need to wait for the inevitable bidding war to start for Beltran to start. One team will likely overpay for his services and if the Mets can land an strong, young pitcher, it’s worth moving him. Clearing Beltran’s six million will also help the team make an in-season run at Jose Reyes. Reyes has said that he’s not talking contact during the season, but the Mets are doing everything in their power to clear the books to keep him. The Mets need Reyes for the future. Adding young, promising prospects now will only help.