7-13-2011: What about trading for Carlos Beltran?


J.D. Drew and our lack of production out of right field is concerning, I’ll grant you. One of the possible solutions has presented itself this week. The New York Mets, already 11 games back in the NL East, are trying to unload 34-year old Carlos Beltran and his weighty contract by the trade deadline. Beltran himself notes that he would approve a trade here.

Is he worth getting?

You may not hear as much about him these days except for his injury updates, but let’s get something straight – when healthy, Beltran is still an All-Star-level player. The last three years, he has posted a .292/.381/.482 triple slash line and a 135 OPS+. The problem is that he’s only managed 234 games in that time. If you have a problem with Drew never playing, you haven’t met Beltran yet.

That being said, he’s been healthy so far this year, and put up some great numbers (.382 wOBA and 146 wRC+). Beltran is a switch-hitter, which would help balance the lineup, and while he draws walks at a high rate, he strikes out far less than most power hitters (about 15% this year).

Defensive metrics have him as an average to above-average right fielder, and though the range isn’t what it used to be, he’s still good with the glove and has a pretty good arm.

In about half a season’s worth of play, he’s been worth +3.3 WAR. So yeah, if you need a short-term, high-ceiling starter in right field, he’s certainly worth a shot.

What will it cost?

Beltran is in the final year of his contract, and is receiving a whopping $18.5M this year. Prorate that for the trade deadline, and you’re looking at about $8M of salary, of which you can reasonably expect the Mets to pick up maybe $3M. Of course, if Boston picked up the whole tab, they could get him for very little, but given that the Sox don’t have much maneuvering room under the budget, they will have to trade something of value for Beltran.

With the Giants and Tigers also rumored to be in on Beltran, he won’t come cheap. It’s hard to gauge what an injury-prone veteran will fetch these days, but I would think you’d have to trade Josh Reddick and at least other one high-value prospect to get him. Given that both Drew and Beltran could walk after the season, that might leave us in a bit of a bind for 2012 and beyond.

So I think trading for Beltran would be great for our chances this season, but I think it would be short-sighted given our transition in right field for next season. As for the future, you could re-sign Beltran with a big contract, but do you really want to make such an injury-prone 35-year old player your starter in right? We are already sailing straight for the playoffs this year, and that should be enough, barring any other major injuries to our team that would impact October. Therefore, I don’t expect Theo Epstein to pull this trigger.

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2 Responses to 7-13-2011: What about trading for Carlos Beltran?

  1. redsoxtalk says:

    Brian MacPherson links to several standings prediction sources that suggest Beltran is not needed in order to make the playoffs, confirming what I said above:
    http://soxblog.projo.com/2011/07/would-carlos-be.html

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    Another reason not to go after Beltran: he has a no-arbitration clause in his contract, so if he walks after 2011, no team can offer arbitration to him and reap compensatory draft picks from it.

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