June 25, 2004
Astros get Carlos Beltran
This is a great trade for the Stros.
The Astros finally landed the classic center fielder they have craved for years, acquiring Kansas City Royals star Carlos Beltran on Thursday night in a three-team deal that club officials compared to the trade that brought Randy Johnson to Houston in 1998.
To land Beltran, the Astros sent closer Octavio Dotel and catching prospect John Buck to the Royals, who shipped Dotel to the Oakland Athletics for two prospects.
Industry sources confirmed that the Astros also gave the A's nearly $1 million.
"How lucky is Houston? They're very, very lucky," Royals manager Tony Peņa said of Beltran, who is earning $9 million this season and plans to test free agency this winter.
"You're very, very lucky to get a talent like him. He was my best player, and one of the best players in the majors. Unfortunately, we can't afford him."
The Astros are indeed lucky to get him. Put any thoughts of replacing their departed closer out of your head. Brad Lidge will do fine, and even if not it's much easier to cobble together a competent bullpen from spare parts, retreads, and prospects than it is to get an All-Star centerfielder. Even better, letting Craig Biggio slide over to left field helps their outfield D considerably. There's almost no downside to this.
Elsewhere, David Pinto likes the trade and justly criticizes KC for their financial shortsightedness regarding Beltran. Tom Kirkendall isn't quite as excited but thinks the trade is a reasonable gamble for Houston. Kevin likes the trade. Rafe puts this trade in context with the Richard Hidalgo trade and comes away impressed with Gerry Hunsickers ability to squeeze something extra out of the roster. Pretty good reviews overall, I'd say.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 25, 2004 to Baseball
In essence, the Astros traded Richard Hildago and Octavio Dotel for Carlos Beltran. I'd make that pair of deals every day of the week!
I think it's a good trade for all teams involved.
KC is out of it already, with or without Beltran, and needs to build (and dump the salary). Oakland needed someone less flammable than Arthur Rhodes to close it out (and though he's sometimes been an adventure, Dotel is still an upgrade there), and the Astros get one of the top players on the trading block, essentially giving up Hidalgo and Dotel. Unless he has a mental block about closing (some guys just seem to have trouble in that role), Lidge might even be better than Dotel.
The remaining question is getting the ball to Lidge in the 9th. Well, that and...was there any doubt the 'Stros would go after someone whose last name begins with a B?
I'm not a big Astros fan, but as much as I don't care for Drayton's pious Baptist moralizing, I've got to admire his willingness to make the big splash to improve his team.
Beltran is as good a CF as there has been in baseball since Mays (and maybe Griffey). He's not nearly as good as the Say Hey Kid, but who is? He should bring a lot of excitement to Enron Field (I know, I know, but it will always be Enron to me) and may give this aging team the spark it needs.
As a baseball fan, I hope this works out. I think Beltran needs to be seen and appreciated by more fans and the Astros should be rewarded for making a gutsy move.
Besides, I have Beltran, Lidge and Kent in my fantasy league!
It's a great trade for the Astros all around. It makes them stronger defensively up the middle, they get a base stealing threat with good pop and they don't get stuck with a big salary.
There are some questions about the lineup but I think it's a no-brainer to lead Beltran off and slide Biggio to the 2 slot and move Everett tot he Ausmus, er, the bottom of the order.
The only loser from a personnel standpoint is Jason Lane. He was finally getting a shot to show what he can do and now it's back to the bench. I've herad some grumbling to put Biggio on the bench, but that's silly. As poorly as he played last year, he's a better offensive player than Lane right now. And his penchant for hitting doubles could become very productive if you get Beltran on in front of him. This will allow the Astros to play for big innings instead of the small ball they've been doing with Everett in the 2 hole.
Of course that leads us to the biggest hurdle the Astros have from an organizational standpoint. Jimy Williams. It's as if Jimy is constantly trying to prove how smart he is and making wholely unnecessary moves in his lineup.