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Beltran to the SF Giants: Rare Win-Win-Win Trade

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If you happen to be a San Francisco Giants fan -- as I have been since the late 1960s -- of course you're out of your chair cheering the trade sending switch-hitting Mets slugger Carlos Beltran to the World Series champion Giants for a certifiable blue-chip pitching prospect.

The Giants, loaded with pitching and enfeebled at the plate, especially since their young franchise player Buster Posey was knocked out of the lineup for the year, take an immediate -- almost visible -- jump with Beltran and now look very good going into the postseason. They have a legitimate shot to repeat and trading away 2009 first-round pick Zack Wheeler, a hard-throwing right-hander, was a small price to pay for so major an upgrade to the heart of their batting order. So "win" for the Giants, no question.

Beltran goes from a team unlikely to make much of a run at a wild-card playoff berth and lands on a first-place team loaded with talent and personality and the earned confidence of a team that knows what it has. Win for him.

What's interesting is that the Mets and new general manager Sandy Alderson also clearly come out as winners. I'm not going to crunch the numbers here -- those will be all over the place -- but I hear from those who know that Wheeler is "country strong," like current Giants starter Matt Cain, and has some control issues that probably put him two or three years away from being ready for a spot in the Mets rotation, but so what? The Mets are clearly looking to build over the next two or three seasons and snagging Wheeler for Beltran was better than many expected.

Joel Sherman, the New York Post columnist who I for one think is excellent, wrote earlier this week that "Sandy Alderson will have to be a magician in the next few days to pull a no-doubt, high-end prospect out of a hat -- and out of another organization's system -- in exchange for Carlos Beltran."

Sherman went on to talk about "top 40" prospects, and Wheeler was only ranked 55th going into this season, so maybe Sherman and others would say he does not quite meet the "no-doubt, high-end prospect" category. Whatever. There is always a huge amount of guesswork with any prospect, even those who seem "no doubt." Mets fans have no guarantees, but instead of simply a hollow sensation as Beltran dons a cap with "SF" on it, there can be a little more hope for the future. I count that as a win for the Mets, too.

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