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Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Beltran trade would boost Giants offense


Trades for significant players at the deadline are not commonplace in recent San Francisco Giants history.

In the previous six seasons dating back to 2005, San Francisco has acquired the likes of Javier Lopez, Freddy Sanchez, Rajai Davis, Mike Stanton (the reliever), Shea Hillenbrand, Vinnie Chulk and Randy Winn in deadline deals.

None of these players had the expected impact that Carlos Beltran will have.

The New York Mets have agreed to a deal that will send Beltran to the Giants, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney on Wednesday.

Carlos Beltran
Beltran
This blog has already discussed how San Francisco’s defensive efforts stand to benefit from Beltran. And how his new contract hasn't been as big a bust as some would make it out to be.

Among the names being tossed around at this year’s trade deadline as potential impact players, Beltran should be considered the cream of the crop.

According to Fangraphs.com, since the start of the 2007 season his Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 20.8 outproduced both Hunter Pence (17.3) and B.J. Upton (17.2), two other names being bandied about on the trade market.

So why the Giants?

It’s simple. The Giants are starved for offense.

Consider this:

• They rank 28th in the majors, averaging just 3.6 runs per game. No current Giants player is in double figures in home runs.
• They’ve scored four or more runs in only 43 of 104 games this season, the second fewest in baseball, just ahead of the Seattle Mariners.
• When the Giants score at least four runs, they’re 37-6. Only one team in the majors has a higher win percentage when scoring four or more runs (the Philadelphia Phillies at 45-6).

Besides the boost Beltran will provide offensively -- his .904 OPS would be tops on the Giants –- his skills in right field will strengthen the team’s defense. Beltran has saved eight runs this season in right field, the fourth-most in the majors among right fielders.

Giants right fielders have cost the team 10 runs this season, which is last in the majors. It’s unclear how the Giants outfield will shake out in the Beltran deal, but his defense will be a boon in the cavernous AT&T Park.

Besides his offensive and defensive skills, Beltran has a history of excelling in the postseason with an OPS of 1.302. No player in MLB history has a higher OPS in the postseason than Beltran.

So is this the seismic shift in the pennant race we’ve been waiting for?

Maybe not.

Accuscore.com ran 10,000 simulations for us and actually have Beltran making virtually no impact on the Giants’ already-good chances.

In their simulation, the Giants:
• averaged 92.9 wins before trade and 93.0 with Beltran.
• odds of winning their division improved from 80.4 to 80.8 percent.
• odds of winning the pennant improved from 19.6 to 19.7 percent.
• odds of winning the World Series from 7.8 to 8.2 percent.

Their chances to win the NL pennant are second best behind the Phillies –- with or without this trade.