The market for Carlos Beltran

Updated: December 21, 2011, 9:48 AM ET
By Buster Olney

The Carlos Beltran trade didn't work out for the Giants, who surrendered their top pitching prospect for the veteran switch-hitter only to see him get hurt early in his tenure with the team. San Francisco was basically out of contention the last couple of months.

But in the 44 games in which Giants manager Bruce Bochy penciled Beltran's name into the lineup, he liked what he saw -- a lot. "What you heard before we got him is that he'd give you good at-bats, and that's exactly what he did," Bochy said Tuesday. "He did all that we could've asked him for. He can hit, and from both sides of the plate. He's got such great balance, and he's a smart hitter."

The Mets' greatest concern about Beltran going into the 2011 season was the condition of his surgically repaired knee, and during Beltran's time with the Giants in the last two months, Bochy said, the knee was never a concern. He hit .323 for San Francisco, with a .920 OPS, and in the final month of the season, he had a whole lot to do with the fact that the Giants ranked fourth in the NL in OPS.

Some other team could get that kind of jolt next year, because in the next 72 hours, Beltran is expected to pick his next employer -- the Toronto Blue Jays, perhaps, or the Boston Red Sox, or maybe the St. Louis Cardinals. A remaining field of bidders is down to five teams.