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Baseball Trade Review: Carlos Beltran Deal
by: Dustin Smiley
The Carlos Beltran sweepstakes are over and the Houston Astros are the winners. After spending the offseason recruiting Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, the Astros have found themselves mired back in the pack of a tough NL Central division race.
Beltran brings a flashy glove to center field and some excitement and run production to the top of the lineup. Of course, players like him don't come without a cost. Houston sent away closer Octavio Dotel and catcher-of-the-future John Buck.
The added wild-card is that Beltran's contract expires at the end of this season. Should the Astros fail to reach the playoffs and also lose their new star center fielder to free agency, this deal could haunt them in the future.
Kansas City, Beltran's former team, sent Dotel on to Oakland in exchange for two prospects, third baseman Mark Teahan and pitcher Mike Wood. The Royals had decided they wouldn't be able to match Beltran's asking price this offseason and picked up the best value they thought they could get. Oftentimes these deals turn out very favorable for the team willing to trade current talent for high-potential minor leaguers.
The Oakland Athletics jumped in to make this a 3-way deal and filled a big need by picking up a consistent closer. Arthur Rhodes had excelled with other teams in a setup role but hasn't fared well closing out games for the A's. Nothing is more frustrating to a starter than to pitch hard through seven or eight innings in a close game only to see a win slip away in the ninth. Oakland boasts one of the best rotations in baseball and a solidified bullpen should help them overtake Texas and maybe even make a run in the playoffs.
This trade will be seen as a success or failure for both Houston and Oakland by the end of the 2004 season. For Kansas City, however, it could be a few years before anyone knows how their 3 new players will pan out. All three teams did well in accomplishing something that made sense for their situation.