July 27, 2011
RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
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On a day with big and big-gish names flying hither and yon, the Giants still ended up with the biggest name of all -- Carlos Beltran.Oh, you may debate Donovan McNabb to Minnesota as the deal of the day, or you may choose the crazy 49er-centric route and talk about David Baas to the New York Giants (well, we said youd be crazy), but the Giants nailing down Beltran in exchange for people not on the big league roster or named Gary Brown is a pretty significant bit of Sabeana.It is, by any definition, a good trade by the Giants. The matter of whether it will be a good trade FOR the Giants. That will be up to Beltran.RELATED: Giants deal Wheeler to Mets for Beltran
But the surprise here, that Sandy Alderson of the Mets would come off his top-prospects-and-cash demand before the last minute, is an indication that teams were dropping off New Yorks asking price, while Sabean kept finessing his offer without getting to the Brandon Belt trip-wire.And ultimately, he got the answer to the question, Will the Giants try to win this without a three-, four- or five-hitter? And the answer is no.Beltran was damaged goods as recently as last year, a player who seemed to be past his sell-by date. But his rising profile this year, and the apparent rekindling of his joy, made him the most appealing trade piece of the July shopping season.For that, Sabean deserves credit, and he will get it. More nationally than locally, to be sure, because Sabeans reputation runs opposite to that of Barry Bonds. With Bonds, the closer you were to the Thing On King, the more you liked him, and the further away, the less he appealed. With Sabean, it works the other way around.He is not as comfortable with that as he lets on; like anyone, he likes to be thought of well. He just doesnt make the minimal effort to inspire good feelings that much, and he hit a new fan low when he had his Scott Cousins snap on KNBR earlier this year.But this will jack him back up in local estimation. He came up with the goods in a crowded market, and he didnt denude his minor league system, and he didnt spend money the ownership group didnt have, and he didnt saddle the operation with a huge contract for a middle-aged player.Yet. Beltrans contract expires at seasons end, and he will presumably be expensive to retain. But thats Decembers problem. July 27ths problem is solved. July 26ths, of course, was Barry Zito, but now even his daily gyrations seem insignificant because of the central truth about Giant fans.They are suckers for something new. Before that, Good Zito was new, and before that, Nate Schierholtz was kind of new, and before that, the Posey Outrage was new, and before that, Brandon Crawford and his Hope Solo eyes were new, and . . . well, you get it. Its Short Attention Span Theatre out there, and Beltran is the newest and brightest name on the marquee.He has about a week to make good, then. That, too, is part of the deal here. Youre as good as your last eight at-bats in this town, and the number of at-bats shrinks a little more every month.Anyway, big ups to Brian Sabean and the deal of the season. Now its up to Carlos Beltran to prove that Sabean earns them.Ray Ratto is a columnist with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.