Baseball trade deadline has always been a fun time of the year for a baseball dork like myself to follow during my time as a baseball fan, especially when your team is a seller. That, of course, is not the New York Mets this season. I’ve seen this time of year evolve from USA Today baseball rumors to ESPN rumor mill to Metsblog’s always great coverage to now playing out over Twitter with every writer stepping over each other to report things first.
I work some pretty harsh hours at the radio station, NJ 101.5 (3AM to 11AM), thus my afternoon nap is the only thing that keeps Matty Faz ticking. Today, I did not fall asleep till 2 PM or so, and things seemed to really be moving with this Beltran thing. Nonetheless, I took an epic 4 hour nap, and woke up to a bunch of text messages, culminating with “Bring me Zach Wheeler.” This Beltran thing was already like a movie we knew the ending too, but were just waiting to see the story arced around it.
At this point, I had the ending to everything, so rather than just running to the trusty Mets and baseball websites to see what the hell happened while I was in the midst of my slumber, I took it to Twitter. Quick aside, I have gotten much more into Twitter the last few months. On the debut of my solo podcast, The Mash-Up with Matt Faz, last night, I commented to great Mets blogger, Kerel Cooper, that it is almost astonishing how rabid the Mets fans on Twitter are. They literally comment on every pitch of every game and are so passionate.
My one complaint with Twitter, especially beings that I work in the media, is that it has completed a great frontier of erroneous reporting with reporters, bloggers, and beat writers stumbling over each other to fire the first tweet about a breaking piece. Knowing the end already, I figured this would be a fun experiment to watch how this played out with Mets fans reactions mixed in. Let’s just say I kept myself amused for over a half hour reading through 4+ hours of tweets to sum up the final chapter of Carlos Beltran’s Mets career.
Without boring you with all the details, it played out something like this. The Indians made a fair offer, but Carlos wanted no part….the Rangers offered the best volume of players, but Carlos wasn’t into that either……The Giants were moving to the front, but it wasn’t clear who they were giving up….They were not going to even trade Gary Brown…..Then they were and the Gary Brown DEVELOPMENT was the one that put things over the top…..Beltran must have known something was up last night because he took the team out for dinner…..Gary Brown out and stud pitching prospect Zach Wheeler in….Phillies still think they have a chance, but know their chances are waning……The Pirates make an aggressive move?…..Put it in the books, Zach Wheeler is a New York Met…..but not official yet.
That is a very condensed afternoon of tweets and reports that I got to enjoy. Putting all that fun aside, a topic my colleagues and I discussed at great length this off-season and season was that the greatest addition the Mets made this year was in the front office with guys like Sandy Alderson, JP Ricciardi, and Paul Depodesta to go along with John Ricco and Wayne Krivsky. It was scenarios like this when the team would have the ultimate leg-up and know exactly what they were looking for in another team’s farm system. They would know exactly how to get those teams engaged in a bidding war. And most importantly, they would have the ability and the stones to execute trades like this.
It’s always tough to sit here and say wow we got a future all-star or ace (or #2) starter, especially when a guy is Single A. What you hope for is to have high ceiling guys who can project to a certain level. What you hope for is for a guy to have the canvas to be something special and put him in a position to move up and thrive in your organization. Despite your feelings on Carlos Beltran, I think every Mets fan can sit here today and be pretty content with the player they got in return. Zach Wheeler is a big kid with a great fastball and curve, drafted 6th overall in his draft (which was a very strong draft class), who averages 10 K’s per 9 innings pitched. He is a guy that projects to a very good #2 starter and maybe one day an ace, who knows. That is type of a pitcher you roll the dice on with a trade like this.
You read constant speculation in baseball, most of it wrong, about how things are going to play out. Well, the last few days, nobody believed that Sandy could get an A level prospect for Beltran (a 2 month rental) especially considering the Mets desperation to move him. Just like it only takes ONE team to give Jayson Werth 126 million dollars, it only takes one team to really need a middle of the order bat like Beltran offers. Sandy played this absolutely perfectly.
As for Carlos Beltran, I certainly appreciated and respected what he could do on the diamond and what he did for the Mets. Personally, there was always a disconnect I had with the guy where he would never be one of my favorite players. Again, I was a fan and loved watching him play because he was so consistent and smooth out there. Appearing on the Kult of Mets Personalities podcast last week, Mark Healey of Baseball Digest summed it perfectly and said he didn’t have those traits like a Mike Piazza that drew Mets fans in. Beltran will be missed, though, and his memories and status as one of the best free-agent signings in Mets history will live in.
Maybe it was because he was such a crown jewel of the beleaguered Omar Minaya regime, but either way, the Beltran thing had a weird feel to it this year, despite his monster numbers. And even with my certain disconnect with Beltran, I will always appreciate his contributions to the Mets.
And best of all, he will not be on an NL East team, especially Philadelphia. He can now be part of the solution of keeping Philly out of the World Series. Come October, with the Mets almost certainly not a part of it, I will root for Carlos to carry San Fran right back into the World Series and get a shot at a ring.
Today is one of those rare days, where I think all sides can be happy about how things played out. That does not happen often in sports and especially with trades involving the New York Mets. The Giants got the bat they coveted…Beltran gets the playoff shot he seeks…The Mets acquired the front-line pitching prospect they needed…
And most importantly, Sandy’s regime got the chance to make a big-time mark on the next chapter of the New York Mets, rather than just undo some of the blunders that Omar made.
Bookmark this day in Mets history……LET’S GO METS!