With an outfield bat the top priority for a number of National League contenders, at times it sounded like any team with a shot at the playoffs was in talks with the Mets about their veteran All-Star.
The San Francisco Giants — who last year won the World Series with pitching and defense rather than a potent offense — were one of those teams and Wednesday night, they got their man.
Just before New York took the field against the Cincinnati Reds, Beltran told his teammates he had waived his no-trade clause and accepted a deal to join the defending champions.
Count quirky closer Brian Wilson as one of those eager to welcome Beltran to the bay area. During the national television broadcast of the All-Star Game, Wilson raved about Beltran’s potential to help the Giants and encouraged a trade. Now that the deal is done, he’s excited to see what kind of offensive boost a player with eight 20-home run seasons and seven 100-RBI campaigns can provide for a team that is currently hitting a meager .241 on the season.
“Having a guy like Beltran obviously adds a lot of positive energy. With that kind of hitter, you’re going to see guys hitting behind him, getting more pitches.”
With Beltran now off the market, the rest of the teams looking to add a bat must quickly hone in on a new target. The Atlanta Braves, in particular, may be most in need of a boost at the plate after All-Star catcher Brian McCann was placed on the DL earlier this week. The Braves were in on Beltran but were reportedly unwilling to deal one of their top four prized pitching prospects for a two-month rental of Beltran — who becomes a free agent at the end of the season. The Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates are also looking for another hitter to help their postseason prospects, but with Colby Rasmus getting dealt from St. Louis to Toronto on Wednesday, the pool of available hitters is diminishing.
Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence — who has been dangled and pulled back by his team multiple times over the past few weeks — may now command a bigger price from either Philadelphia or Atlanta. Like the Mets, they’re also interested in an elite young pitching prospect. Tampa Bay Rays outfielder B.J. Upton — who has drawn interest from the Washington Nationals among others — is also expected to be dealt in the next 72 hours or so.