Will Anyone Step Up and Take Beltran?
Avkash over at The Raindrops pointed to a Baseball Prospectus piece in which Kevin Towers said he is not interested in acquiring Carlos Beltran. While that may be smoke and mirrors, there have not been many articles or anything much at all alluding to any impending trades. So much silence after Baird telling everyone it is open season on most of his players is strange. Everything surrounding Carlos Beltran has been cold as Gerald "Ice" Williams. The Times has an article speculating that the Yankees are more interested in aquiring pitching and not really interested in Beltran as their #1 priority. Another problem for the Yankees acquiring Beltran is that they did not grow any hot prospects that are close to the Majors on trees in the last few weeks. Any trade Baird accepts with the Yankees would have to be one out of desperation and because of an extreme lack of interested trading partners with anything of any worth. Dioneer Navarro and Eric Duncan just will not get it done. Besides, when the Yankees starting rotation ERAs look like this:
Javier Vazquez 3.43
Kevin Brown 4.13
Mike Mussina 4.43
John Leiber 4.83
Jose Contreras 6.18
They have more pressing concerns. With only Alex Graman, Brad Halsey, Tanyon Sturtze, and Dovan Osbourne as their other options right now, I'd say they are looking a bit thin in that department. That staff impresses by name mostly and they certainly have not been performing to the level that people thought they would. Also, the Yankees are fourth in runs scored on offense, but 15th in ERA. Only the Yankees would have the logic to bring in more offense. Hey, I guess if you score 10 and they only score 8, you win!
So where does that leave the Royals GM? Well, he had alluded to the fact that if his 3b/C combo that he desires does not materialize, he will then be taking the best offers possible with the best talent involved.
Baird must be steaming at Boras since he has been the reason for any lack of interest by major league clubs with his insistence that Beltran will test the free agent market and not even think about negotiating with anyone prior to that. Most GMs that were interested were scared off for a 1/2 year rental that they have zero chance of signing. However, that 1/2 year rental could bring a certain small market team a sandwich pick and 1st round compensation pick along with some other goodies (I'm will be actually going somewhere with this).
There are only a few remaining clubs with interest.
The Red Sox remain an interested party. However, there seem to be a few roadblocks with them. One would be the fact that they already have three outfielders. Unless they plan on trading Damon, it would seem Manny would be moving to DH with Ortiz now 1b full time and Millar riding some pine. That is an option, but whether Manny would be happy about that is another question. The other problem is that the Sox 3b/C combo of Kevin Youlkis and Kelly Shoppach is not exactly exciting. Youlkis is holding his own in the majors with a .271 average, three homeruns, and fourteen RBIs. He is showing that he has 20+ homerun power with 80+ RBI ability. Shoppach is not doing great at AAA sporting a .245 batting average and 10 homeruns. A catcher that has 15 to 20 homerun power is certainly appetizing as well. That deal, while not that strong, may be enough to get the job done by providing them two serviceable major league talents, but just not ones that have star potential. More importantly, would the Red Sox trade two of their top three prospects only to see Beltran wisked away to the Yankees while they are left with a more barren farm system than before?
The Cubs are still an outside shot, but they would be ones that would have to wait more toward the trading deadline. They could become players once Baird gives up his quest for a 3b/C combo and they can offer up some arms. Their system is pitching rich and they can also deal Corey Patterson who certainly has some upside. He got off to a really bad start but has picked up of late and has his average up to .267 and has knocked in eight homeruns. With weak offers being presented, this one may have a shot to stick.
The Yankees are still trolling around. If they cannot land a pitcher, they may turn their sites on Beltran. Although everyone else but me thinks that if Steinbrenner wants him, then he'll get him, I just do not feel that way. Boston can put a better package together surrounding Youlkis and Shoppach to prevent the Yankees from getting him. The Yankees would have to do some serious convincing that any of their packages would be worth enough to pull the trigger.
The Marlins are a long shot but have mentioned some interest in the past. They have some talent in their system, but would most likely have to part with Jeremy Hermedia or Jason Stokes as a key cog in the deal. Outside of catcher Josh Willingham, they are heavy on pitchers and outfielders at the top of their system. In addition, they got Koch as the set-up man so they are presumably no longer interested in Contreras in that contrived three way deal proposed a few weeks back. They would also be a team that would have to wait more towards the trade deadline since they lack the prospects in the area the Royals are looking for. However, with the return of Burnett, they may also be willing to trade one of their starters, although that would certainly be a desperation move by the Marlins, which I do not think they will get too. If they learned anything from last year it is that pitching wins championships with a dab of timely hitting.
The Dodgers are also an interested party. They are having nightmares of last year's lack of offense and want to put it as far behind them as possible. If they did acquire Beltran, he would most likely displace Dave Roberts, who is their left fielder who swiped 22 bags, is hitting .295, and has a .387 OBP. The Dodgers have a deep system with a lot of live arms and could put together a good package if necessary. That package could include part of what Baird is looking for which would include a major league ready catcher in Koyie Hill. It may not be exactly what Baird would be directly looking for, but the Dodgers can put some talent together and have one of the best systems out of anyone.
Here is where my real assesment of the Beltran situation ends.
That brings me to my admittedly warped suggestion. This one would be pretty off the wall but hey, is it REALLY that impossible? The Mets make a bid for Beltran. Why would they do that? I can here everyone saying, "They just got Hidalgo you idiot". Yes, they did, but I can name someone that would be very interested in Beltran's services. I am proposing a three way trade with the Mets, Oakland, and the Royals. Yes I read this article. But who cares? Now this deal only works if Baird is still getting the cold shoulder from all the GMs and nothing attractive has materialized. The Mets can give them a package made up of Wiggie and Phillips plus prospects since Wiggie and Phillips do not exactly have star power. You can put Huber in for Phillips if they so prefer and want someone with a higher ceiling. Also in the deal, the A's can send 3b prospect Mark Teahan, who they will not be needing with Chavez holding down the fort, to the Royals. The Mets then send Seo or Ginter to take Zito's rotation spot, they include Prentice Redman, and someone else who has a high ceiling. The Royals send Beltran to the A's by way of the Mets so the Mets can provide some salary relief and take on some of that burden. So here is how it shakes out.
The Mets receive Barry Zito
The Royals receive Ty Wigginton, Mark Teahen, Jason Phillips or Justin Huber, and Bobby Keppel (this also frees them to move Randa and Santiago, whom Kevin Towers is interested in). The Royals get some major league help right now and some guys that have a good upside.
The A's receive Carlos Beltran + Cash, Jae Seo or Keith Ginter, and any two of the following - Prentice Redman, Victor Diaz, Tyler Yates, Royce Ring, or Aaron Baldiris (may be best suited for 2b).
The Royals receive the least in the deal, but this is only contingent up on them not really having many other choices. People are falling out of the Beltran lottery everyday.
Wishful thinking on my part? Absolutely. Rational? Not at all. I know what people are thinking. No way we get Zito for an abundance of spares, but I do not think everyone is useless. If a team can get some quality major leaguers in return, that could be invaluable. Check out the Sexson deal. Overbay turned out to be a stud, but the deal was based off of quantity and that deal is much better than the Royals seem to be on track for in return for Beltran.
I think the A's would always love to add a bit more pop into their lineup. Dangling Beltran in front of them may be too large of a temptation. Also, it is not like Zito has been lights out and they would not be missing him as much as they would have in the past years. On top of it all, the A's can offer Beltran arbitration, which he will most assuredly not accept, and they will get a late first round pick and sandwich pick. That adds more to the return on the Zito trade in terms of prospects.
We would be giving up Wigginton, Phillips or Huber, Seo or Ginter, and two or three prospects. Is six or seven players really worth it for Zito? I think so, if it could be done. Most of these guys do not figure in the long term plan anyway. Also, most of them are ready to step in at the major league level immediately or very soon.
The bottom line is this, whoever does end up making the trade for Beltran, may end up getting steal. If that happens, I'd like to see if the Mets can spin that to benefit themselves even though they have no desire to place him on the team. They may be able to put a reasonable package together due to their depth in the minors coupled with the fact they have a few guys on the major league roster that are expendable and ready to step into action right away.
Man, after that convoluted trade proposal I feel like Bob Klapisch or Jon Heyman.
...Now if they could only score some runs. Mets are currently ranked 28th in that category, though I anticipate that will change soon. They are poised to move up some spots now that their lineup has finally taken shape.
David Wright, 3B, New York Mets
When teams contact the Mets about possible trades, the name brought up most often is David Wright, the subject of our recent Down on the Farm profile that you can access by clicking here. The Mets don't want to give him up, and would likely only do so as part of a blockbuster deal. Wright was promoted to Triple-A last week, and is hitting .346 in seven games. In my opinion, he is ready for major league action, both offensively and defensively, and would make an impact as soon as he gets an opportunity. If injuries or trades intervene, that will happen soon. If not, he'll have to wait for September.
"Don't twist this all up," he said, "but I heard he's (Reyes) unbelievable at shortstop. I'd love to see him. But right now, that's not going to happen, unfortunately."
No need to twist it all up Mike. It's perfect the way you laid it out.