Jul 29, 2011, 06:43AM

Giants Make a Strong Case for Repeat Series Win By Acquiring Carlos Beltran

By sacrificing top prospect Zack Wheeler, the Giants look to make it two in a row.

The San Francisco Giants sent a very clear message to the National League, and their fans, with Wednesday's deal for Carlos Beltran. While Philadelphia and Atlanta balked at the Mets’ asking price the Giants willingly ponied up. The Phillies reportedly refused to include pitching prospect Jarred Cosart or young slugger Jonathan Singleton in any deal for Beltran. The lack of aggressiveness on the part of Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro is in direct contrast to the offseason. In their attempts to win another World Series the Phillies shelled out $120 million for Cliff Lee but wouldn't deal a 19-year-old Class A outfielder with nine home runs. Amaro could still redeem himself with a deal for Hunter Pence or Carlos Quentin before the deadline but the Beltran whiff could prove costly. Beltran, a switch hitter, could’ve given Philadelphia the right-handed power bat they've lacked since Jayson Werth bolted for the Nats.

San Francisco defeated the Phillies on Thursday night in Beltran's debut. Tim Lincecum started the game for the Giants. In the last five games against Philly started by Lincecum and Matt Cain the pair has yielded a total of five earned runs.  Yeah, I think the Phils could use Beltran. By acting decisively the Giants' GM Brian Sabean accomplished the double whammy of simultaneously improving his club while hurting its chief competition.

Atlanta refused to part with any of its top three pitching prospects in a Beltran deal. Despite losing All-Star catcher Brian McCann to injury the Braves failed to make a strong play for Beltran. Atlanta is now linked to names like Josh Willingham, BJ Upton and Ryan Ludwick. None of those guys will carry the price tag of Beltran, but they won't be nearly as productive. The Braves have had stellar seasons from pitchers Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel. They no doubt have the pitching to hang with the Phillies and Giants but without an offensive upgrade they could see an early playoff exit. Given Atlanta's unwillingness to deal from strength, prospect Mike Minor must be the next Steve Carlton.

San Francisco has drawn some criticism for the trade. In order to acquire Beltran for the final two months of 2011, and presumably the playoffs, the Giants dealt top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to the Mets. Wheeler was a Top Ten pick in the 2009 amateur draft. He's just 21, throws hard and is widely considered to be one of the Top 50 prospects in baseball. Wheeler seems to be an excellent prospect, but all that potential wouldn't have done a damn thing to help the Giants beat Roy Halladay in Game One of the NLCS. Wheeler might one day be a great pitcher for the Mets, but that day won't be any time soon. The Giants rode their young pitching to a championship last season and now they have aggressively pursued an opportunity to repeat. As long as Lincecum, Cain and Jonathan Sanchez are healthy and under contract San Francisco will have a chance to win.

  • Except they could've traded for willingham/ BJ Upton/ Ryan Ludwick and gotten similar production for half he price. Heck they could've gotten two of those guys without giving up a huge amount.

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  • Ludwick, sure. But it looks like the high price tags of Willingham and BJ Upton are what held up deals. Now it's looking like Michael Bourn was the biggest bargain this summer. I had a feeling he wouldn't cost much, apparently the 'Stros didn't think too highly of him. Jordan Schafer's a bum.

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  • Upton is an overrated malcontent and Ludwick isn't an upgrade over any of the OFers SF already had. Beltran and Pence were the best bats available.

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  • No, Upton is an underproducing malcontent, there's a difference. Change of scenery could've been big for him. Take Ludwick out of Petco and he's got more power than both Beltran and Pence (though PNC park isn't much of an upgrade). In a productive lineup and strong hitters park, however, the Willinghammer might be the best. Too bad the Sox didn't get him. Billy Beane wants the picks, but the Hammer might accept arbitration if he's offered it.

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