If Giant fans can find any solace in the fact that Carlos Beltran went elsewhere, I guess it’s that he stayed out of the National League West. The nightmares of Beltran jumping up and down on homeplate with Dinger after mashing a 9-run homer in the 23rd inning were enough to force me to spend my Lowe’s gift cards on flashlights and potting soil, simply so I wouldn’t go buy every razor they had.
There’s few better baseball town’s outside of St. Louis, so for Beltran, it’s a fantastic spot. He gets paid well, he has a full no-trade clause and the fans and city get a, well, substitution for Albert Pujols since you can’t really replace him. It’s annoying that at some point in these next two seasons, chances are, the Giants will be in a race of some sort with the Cards, be it for playoff position or in the playoffs – so we’ll meet again, this time under not so friendly circumstances.
But blame Beltran for this mess, I can not. His contract wasn’t outlandish for a player of his magnitude – let’s be honest, 4.7 WAR players aren’t on the open market very much and those that are generally get more than an average of $13 million per year. The Giants had every opportunity to afford him – they just didn’t want to.
I’ve seen a lot of stuff about how it was either Beltran or Cain and Lincecum, and that’s just not true. Cain and Lincecum’s contracts (since the chances of Lincecum signing a long term deal are pretty slim) aren’t going to kick in until the 2013 season (or 2014 in Lincecum’s case). Yes, arbitration numbers will be high for Tim – but you’ve known that for a few years now. That’s like a multi-millonare complaining about his mortgage after he bought the pad.
Aubrey Huff, Brian Wilson and Aaron Rowand‘s contracts all come off the books at season end – that’s quite a chunk of change that will re-enter the scenario and will be put towards the contracts of Cain and Lincecum, so for the Giants, saying they couldn’t “afford” Beltran seems like a bit of a stretch. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying the Giants aren’t cash strapped, because they are. I’m also not saying they would have made a profit this year if they signed Beltran given the current roster – they probably wouldn’t have. But, they’re also not going to be dripping in the red for more than a season if that was the case – and remember, that’s given the current roster. They could have made the decision to not sign Jeremy Affeldt and acquire Melky Cabrera and you have your $13 million in Beltran money right there. I personally think the Affeldt decision was a good one – so I don’t fault Sabean and company for that move, but, to say there weren’t work arounds when it came to getting Beltran his $12-13 million dollars is just not true.
The Giants can blame this move on the financial aspect all they want – and while I do agree that it did play a role, it’s been used more as an excuse than reality. For such an offensively starved team, if you want Beltran (even if you have to eat it on a few million dollars like they would have for a season) – you make the move. You don’t spend Beltran’s money on a reliever and a suspect bat and go “oopsie, out of money” – for whatever reason, be it injury concern, superstar-ish like attitude problems, whatever – there was a reason the Giants didn’t bring Beltran back.
So goodbye, old friend. We were just getting to know each other, too.