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Possible Trade Destinations for Carlos Beltran

by Photo of Andrew Lontos

Beltran is likely to be moved by the deadline.

Possible Trade Destinations for Carlos Beltran

Carlos Beltran and the Mets are ready to go their separate ways. New York is not willing to pay whatever the Scott Boras client will command in the offseason, and Beltran will most likely go to an American League team where he can play right field as well as DH. As his 7 year, $119 million contract expires, the 2011 All Star will leave the Mets with mixed reviews. Beltran was very good as a Met and was actually one of the more clutch players on the team; unfortunately, many fans will never get over his 2006 strikeout in Game 7 of the NLCS. Due to his age, injury history, and impending free agency, Beltran's trade value is not extremely high. Also, an organization normally has the option of offering their upcoming free agent arbitration and receiving valuable draft picks if he signs somewhere else. But language in Beltran's contract prevents the Mets from exploring this option, taking away some of the team's leverage. Despite this, his stellar play and injury free first half should result in the Mets getting better quality and quantity than they could have hoped for in Spring Training. Let's take a look at some possible trade scenarios that we may see in the next few weeks.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants are the only likely National League destination for Beltran. The Mets finished the first half in San Francisco, where not only were trade rumors buzzing, but Beltran shared a plane with the Giants' All Stars to Arizona for the Midsummer Classic. The defending World Series Champions could certainly use help offensively, especially in the outfield. He would immediately be their best hitter. The Mets should target Tommy Joseph, a catcher and the Giants' 10th best prospect according to Baseball America. Joseph is 19 years old and has hit 10 home runs and driven in 48 runs in 81 games in high A ball. The Giants are clearly set at catcher with Buster Posey, and therefore shouldn't have too much of a problem letting him go. The Mets, on the other hand, with Josh Thole and Ronnie Paulino, are not set at catcher. It is probably their biggest need. New York could use a lefty out of the bullpen; relievers Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez would be ideal additions in a potential deal. However, San Francisco knows that the road back to the World Series will likely go through the Phillies and their left handed bats of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Raul Ibanez, making those two very unlikely to be moved.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers are another team that is reportedly heavily interested in the Mets' outfielder. Texas also has one of the strongest farm systems in baseball, so the Mets should aim high. If New York could get their hands on a stud pitching prospect like Robert Erlin, they should make the deal straight up for Beltran. Erlin is a 20 year old left-handed starting pitcher who has dominated the minor leagues. Currently in AA, he boasts a 2.47 career minor league ERA, to go along with an absurd 8.41 strikeout to walk ratio. A prospect like this may be aiming too high, but there are other options. ESPN's Jonah Keri suggests another trade in which the Mets get high quality pitching from Texas:

"Texas Rangers trade Tanner Scheppers and Michael Kirkman to the New York Mets for Carlos Beltran."

Scheppers is actually ranked one spot ahead of Erlin, but has struggled this year in AA and AAA. Despite this, Baseball America says he has the best fastball and best curveball in the Rangers' organization. Kirkman is a 24 year old left-hander who already has big league experience. In 14 major league games last year, he posted a 1.65 ERA. The Rangers value pitching greatly, but they also have a surplus. 5 of their 10 top prospects are pitchers. If the Mets can get a top pitcher or two from Nolan Ryan's farm system, they have to do it.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox, so often buyers, always seem to be mentioned when a Met is on the trade block and are the favorites to land the outfielder's services. Beltran has already said he would approve a trade to the Red Sox. Boston's farm system is a little weak from the Adrian Gonzalez trade; they gave up top prospect Anthony Rizzo, among others, to the Padres. Two prospects the Mets should go for are Felix Doubront and Che-Hsuan Lin. Doubront is a left-handed pitcher that started playing professional baseball at 17 and has a minor league career ERA of 3.57. Now 23 and in AAA, Doubront walks too many batters, but has a 3.38 ERA in 12 starts. Lin is a super athletic outfielder with speed that could help the Mets dramatically. Between the spacious outfield of Citi Field and a lack of great athletes on the roster (other than Jose Reyes), he could be a great addition. The 22 year old has not hit for great average in the minor leagues, but has a good on base percentage and can steal bases. Reyes and Lin at the top of the order would certainly fill the seats in Flushing.

New York Yankees

Historically, the Mets and Yankees don't love to make trades together. But with the new regime in Queens, could this be changing? The Mets have already called the Yankees about Francisco Rodriguez (UPDATE: K-Rod traded to Brewers). Beltran to the Bronx makes sense because of Nick Swisher's struggles this year. Part of the problem with Swisher is how awful he has been in the playoffs. He's a career .162 hitter in 8 postseason series. That's where Beltran can really help the Yankees. The last time Beltran was in the playoffs in a contract year, he hit 8 home runs and drove in 14 runs in 12 games. Also, Alex Rodriguez will be out for 4-6 weeks, potentially leaving the Yankees with a need for some offense. Despite this, the Yankees are probably reluctant to trade a big time prospect to their cross town rivals. That's unfortunate, as the Yankees have the stud catching prospects the Mets would love to have. Jesus Montero, Gary Sanchez, and Austin Romine are all catchers that would be great acquisitions for the Mets.

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