PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The San Francisco Giants are about to add the big bat they wanted to bolster their lineup in the stretch drive as they try to defend their World Series title.
Carlos Beltran accepted a trade to the San Francisco Giants, leaving the New York Mets to join his new team after saying goodbye Wednesday. The deal was expected to be announced Thursday.
Beltran left Cincinnati on Wednesday, held out of the lineup by the Mets, and traveled to Philadelphia to join the defending champions for their series finale against the Phillies. He was expected to bat third and play right field Thursday night for manager Bruce Bochy.
Then, it was right back to Cincinnati to face the Reds in a weekend series with his new team. Talk about a whirlwind few days for the switch-hitting Beltran, who was fully aware he would be traded in the final year of a $119 million deal he signed with the Mets before the 2005 season. He was plagued by knee injuries the past two seasons, but has been healthy this year.
The 34-year-old Beltran leads the National League with 30 doubles and is batting .289 with 15 homers and 66 RBIs.
“Having a guy like Beltran, obviously, adds a lot of positive energy,” Giants closer Brian Wilson said.
Beltran adds a big bat, too.
The commissioner’s office had granted the Mets a 24-hour window to talk to the All-Star outfielder about waiving his no-trade clause. Shortly before an 8-2 win over the Reds on Wednesday night, Beltran arrived in the clubhouse and told his teammates he was on his way to join the NL West-leaders in Philadelphia.
“He came over and shook everybody’s hands and said thank you,” Mets outfielder Angel Pagan(notes) said. “We were very happy for him. He’s going to be with a team that’s a contender.”
The Giants won for the third time in four games after a 2-1 victory over the Phillies on Wednesday night.
“We’re not an offensive team,” Bochy said.
They acquired a nice piece toward becoming one.
The Mets would get pitching prospect Zachary Wheeler, who is 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 16 starts for San Francisco’s high Class-A affiliate in San Jose. The Giants selected Wheeler with the No. 6 pick in the 2009 draft.
“While we have been engaged in discussions, we’re not in position to comment at this time,” the Mets said in a statement.
The Giants are batting .241 with 66 homers and 373 runs scores, all numbers that rank toward the bottom of the NL. Beltran will be an instant upgrade to an inconsistent offense. No Giants player on the roster has more than nine homers. Aubrey Huff(notes) leads them with 47 RBIs.
Asked where Beltran would play in the outfield, Bochy laughed and refused to specifically discuss the trade.
Mets manager Terry Collins was told not to play Beltran at Cincinnati on Wednesday night. The switch-hitting right fielder wasn’t at Great American Ball Park before batting practice.
Collins said Beltran showed up later and said goodbye.
It will be the second major trade for the Mets, who dealt closer Francisco Rodriguez to Milwaukee after the All-Star game.
“Everyone here has anticipated it, whether we like it or not,” Collins said. “We knew it was going to happen. We’ve talked about it for the last 10 days.”
While Beltran hasn’t always been the most popular player with fans—many never being able to completely forgive him for striking out looking on a curveball against Cardinals closer Adam Wainwright(notes) to end the 2006 NLCS—he leaves as one of the great all-around Mets in team history.
He voluntarily moved from center to right field this season, and shook off injuries to return as one of the National League’s top hitters.
“He’s a complete player,” Bochy said. “Carlos has all the tools that you look for in a player. He has great instincts for the game. Plays the game hard, plays the game right. I still remember when Houston got him, and the job he did there.
“He’s a tremendous all-around player. He’s one of the elite players of the game.”
And soon, he can call himself a Giant.