The Beltran Trade

Friday, July 29, 2011

Nuance takes time and time I do not have.  I'd rather be able to say, as most Giants mainstream analysts have, "this is a great trade."  If it were someone else's team, I'd rather be able to say "short sighted losers, giving away the future for an over the hill borderline Hall of Famer today."

I'm not saying either.  Here's what I'm saying. 

It’s a heavy price for 60 games of a 34 year old Carlos Beltran. 

I believe the following things to be true.
1. We were going to win the west without him.  If you run projections, we were 90+% to win the west two days ago.  Absent a signficant circumstance change, like Lincecum shoots Cain in the neck, we're in the tournament.
2. We are still unlikely to win the Series with him.  Our pythag is below St Louis, Atlanta, 20 games below Philadelphia, a dozen games below Texas, 20 games below the Yankees, 20 games below the Sox.  We aren't close to the best teams in baseball. 
3. We are more likely to win the Series with him than without. I don’t know how much more. But more. He instantly becomes our second best position player, his WARP trails only Sandoval's. 

Wheeler projects as a 2 whose upside is a 1.  It's more likely he's just a guy than a superstar, cause that's how it goes more often than not. But let’s put aside “what will he wind up being” as speculative and focus on what he is now.

As a chip, could we have turned him into something better than Beltran?

For example.

Zach Wheeler and what gets us Hanley Ramirez?

As opposed to just thinking about this as Beltran for Wheeler or nothing; consider a lesser prospect for Josh Willingham, for example, and Wheeler as the centerpiece for more than 60 games of 34 year old Carlos Beltran.

Maybe that type of deal can’t be made now, and the difference between the gain we get today with Willingham as opposed to Beltran is real.  I'd rather have Beltran over the next 60 games. 

But also real is Zach Wheeler’s cost controlled value; had you said in April we’d move Wheeler for Beltran there is no possible way you’d consider that deal. As opposed to saying “of course it’s a good deal, you gotta go for it!” it’s worth considering the potential moves, either now or offseason, that we are giving up.

And let’s play Belt every goddamn day. Seriously.  The upgrade from Ross/Rowand to Beltran is not as significant (I'd suggest) as the value we'll lose by playing Huff over Belt. 

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