It’s flashback friday! That means we have to take a look at this date in history for the San Francisco Giants.
On July 28th, 2011, the San Francisco Giants traded away top pitching prospect, Zack Wheeler, for the New York Met’s Carlos Beltran in an attempt to replace Buster Posey‘s bat after the 2010 rookie of the year broke his ankle in a home plate collision with Scott Cousins.
The Giants brought in Beltran after he played well in the All-Star game, and many of the Giants players were doing their best to lure him in and tempt him to come. The Giants gave up their best pitching prospect in Zack Wheeler, who broke into the big leagues around 2013. They also sent cash New York’s way to finish off the heavy hitting contract of Beltran.
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With the Giants, Beltran hit .323/.369/.551/.920 with seven homers and 18 RBI. Beltran wasn’t enough to push them over the edge though in 2011, as they finished 86-76, eight games back of the first place Diamond-Backs.
The Giants didn’t make an effort to sign him long term following that 2011 season, so he opted to sign with the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals on a two year deal. He had spoken many times about his want to be on a championship contender and get to the World Series.
But unfortunately for him he never reached his goal of winning a World Series with the Cardinals, thanks in large part to the Giants epic come-back in 2012, and the Boston Red Sox in 2013. Beltran might be in a good position though in 2017, as the Houston Astros are running away with the best record in the American League, and are a favorite of many to reach the World Series.
For Zack Wheeler, things haven’t gone as well. He’s still a Met, but is back on the DL. His best two seasons came in 2013 and 2014. He didn’t make another appearance in the big leagues until this season. In ’13 and ’14 he posted a 3.50 ERA in 285.1 innings of work. He’s made 17 starts in 2017, but just doesn’t look the same
It would be quite interesting to play the “what if game.” What if this trade never went down? Would Beltran maybe have signed with the Giants in 2012? Would that have meant Hunter Pence wouldn’t have been a Giants? A big question for me would be surrounding Wheeler.
The Met’s have the reputation of killing their star pitchers arms by overworking them, or allowing them to pitch through serious issues. Would Wheeler’s arm have been managed better in San Francisco? Would he have formed a formidable duo atop the Giants rotation? Who knows.
You could even ask if the Giants don’t make this trade, does the chain reaction of moves changing, mess with the 2012 and 2014 World Series wins? Who knows. Somewhere in an alternate universe, Zack Wheeler is a healthy stud because he never got ruined by the Met’s poor management of pitcher’s arms. But within that alternate universe, are the Giants three time champs this decade? I’m not sure if I want to find out.