Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran to the Giants for prospects is one trade that can make a difference. This is by default. There is no Cliff Lee on the market, no one guy that transforms a contender into a champion as Lee did with the ace-starved Rangers in 2010.
If Mets shortstop Jose Reyes is traded, especially to the Giants, his energy and MVP-type numbers will carry a good team to the promised land. But the Mets may hang onto him, making Beltran the best of the available group.
The outfielder would automatically be the best all-around player on the defending World Series champions. The Giants' pitching gets them pretty far, but eventually they'll need someone who can hit.
Beltran to Braves
Juan C. Rodriguez
The Braves have to land Carlos Beltran for two reasons: They need offense and they can't afford to see him in a Phillies uniform.
The National League East could hinge on whether the Mets deal Beltran to one of their division rivals. The Phillies, who opened the week with a six-game lead on the Braves, can win the East without him. Not only do the Braves need the offensive transfusion, but Beltran's bat would help keep them atop the wild-card standings.
Braves right fielders opened the week hitting only .230-14-41 with a .697 on-base plus slugging percentage. Top to bottom, the Braves possess the pitching to challenge the Phillies for the pennant. In adding Beltran, they could boast the offense to do so as well.
Pence to Phils or Giants
It's hard to believe the Astros would trade Hunter Pence.
He's a great hitter and a power/speed guy. He also has a tremendous work ethic, setting a great example for the organization's young players. He's never had the luxury of hitting in a good lineup.
That could be coming. In an attempt to prove himself to new owner Jim Crane, GM Ed Wade is seriously listening to offers for Pence.
He could be a huge difference maker in September and October for any of three or four teams. The Indians and Pirates seem like long shots, so look for Pence to land with the Phillies or Giants if he is traded, and look for the team that gets him to be playing deep into October.
Giants need Beltran
Los Angeles Times
The Giants have great pitching again this season, but the offense has deteriorated from decent to abysmal.
Buster Posey is out for the season. Cody Ross has shed his October Superman cape. Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres have regressed toward their career norms. Nate Schierholtz, a fourth or fifth outfielder for most of his career, has taken his turn batting cleanup. We're a week from August, and the Giants still don't have anyone with 10 home runs. The Giants desperately need the best bat available, Carlos Beltran.