After reading the now daily updates on the trade market for free agent-to-be Carlos Beltran, I noticed that the Braves have been emerging as a very realistic suitor for the All-Star outfielder. With now 7-8 teams in the mix to acquire Beltran, this appears to be shaping up to become a deal similar to that of the Mariners/Rangers Cliff Lee trade before the 2010 trade deadline.
The Mets have stated that they want a Grade A prospect in return for Beltran, and they very well may get just that if a bidding war ensues in the coming weeks. Of the teams interested in Beltran, Atlanta holds the best chip in that of firerballer Julio Teheran. The Braves are in desperate need of offensive production, particularly from the outfield; but the question is, are they desperate enough to move their top prospect for a rental bat? I would not put it out of the question.
Beltran is undoubtedly the best player actively on the market, an instant game changer for any team that eventually acquires him. When teams compete for a player at the deadline, they always overpay for said player at a hope to give them an edge down the stretch, and Beltran will be no exception.
I see this deal getting done very similar to the Cliff Lee trade July. Lee was the best available player at the 2010 deadline and Beltran is the best here in 2011. The Mariners got one of the best prospects in baseball at the time in that of Justin Smoak out of their deal, so why not top pitching prospect Julio Teheran for the Amazin’s now?
The Braves have excess pitching, but are one of the worst offenses in baseball this season with a .230 team average, a figure that is 26th in baseball. The Mets are in need of more promising young pitching and have a rental, switch-hitting power bat who is putting up exceptional numbers in 2011. A deal here makes sense between the two teams.
To ensure a deep postseason push, an acquisition of Beltran would all but secure just that for the Braves. It also would be a waiving of the white flag for the Mets in not only dealing their 34-year old outfielder, but also trading him to the wild-card leading Braves.
But if the Mets can acquire one of the top young arms in the game in dealing Beltran to the Braves, I would say it is worth it to forfeit a very weak chance at contending in 2011.