Beltran trade boosts Duda, hurts Belt

Updated: July 28, 2011, 12:12 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

The Mets' Lucas Duda might get another 200 at-bats the rest of the 2011 season. The Giants' Brandon Belt might not get 20. Sometimes life just isn't fair.

The big trade that will send Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets to the San Francisco Giants won't merely affect the National League landscape in October, but also fantasy owners here in July. Duda takes over in right field for the Mets. Belt is heading back to Triple-A Fresno. Duda homered Wednesday night, while Belt was used as a pinch runner and defensive replacement for the inferior Aubrey Huff on Belt's last day in the bigs until probably September. On Thursday, Duda might homer again, while Belt will be on an airplane. I have little doubt Belt would outperform Duda, if given the chance, but it's irrelevant.

Fantasy owners should be watching this week and beyond as trades are executed because it's often not the actual members of a trade who see their value shift. Beltran was having a terrific season for the Mets, and I don't see any warning flags now that he's a Giant. Sure, he leaves one tough hitter's park for another, but so what? Beltran boasts a .994 OPS in home games, including 26 extra base hits (nine home runs). He's a career .310 hitter at San Francisco's AT&T Park, and that's against generally strong pitching; over the past four seasons, Beltran has hit .372 there. He'll be fine.