Sabean’s upbeat on Beltran, not on more deals

Thursday, July 28

PHILADELPHIA — Brian Sabean said Thursday that he’s continuing to pursue more offensive help as Sunday’s Trade Deadline approaches, but the Giants general manager didn’t sound optimistic about making more deals.

Asked if the market for catchers and shortstops, two positions where the club could stand some strengthening at the plate, had gained any life in recent days, Sabean replied, “Not really.”

Sabean spoke on a conference call to trumpet Wednesday’s acquisition of outfielder Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets for right-handed pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. Predictably, Sabean was upbeat about obtaining Beltran, who’s expected to bolster the Giants’ sagging run production.

“He’s a legitmate third hitter probably on any team,” Sabean said of Beltran.

Snippets from the call:

– Sabean indicated that Beltran, a six-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, was the player the Giants wanted most. Sabean recalled that he initiated talks with his Mets counterpart, Sandy Alderson, on July 1. “We always had one foot in the door,” said Sabean, who related that as he returned home from Monday’s White House visit, he received a phone call from Alderson that “rekindled” trade talks.

– Sabean’s confidence in Beltran to fill the void at the batting order’s third spot is virtually limitless. “Once (Buster) Posey went down, I thought we were dead in the water with being able to replace him,” Sabean said. “Carlos has a chance to do that.”

– Sabean was reluctant to part with Wheeler, San Francisco’s No. 1 draft choice in 2009. “I truly hate that we gave up a really good prospect,” Sabean said. “But we’re at an interesting place in time.” Translation: The Giants are in win-now mode, and Sabean said that the organization didn’t expect Wheeler to contribute at the Major League level for another few years. “It’s our job to find another Wheeler,” Sabean said, expressing confidence in the organization’s ability to develop pitching and in the haul of pitchers from this year’s draft.

– Sabean hopes that players appreciate the Beltran trade, which reflected the organization’s efforts to keep the Giants on top. “If I were a player, I’d applaud it,” said Sabean, who acquired second baseman Jeff Keppinger last week in an attempt to strengthen the lineup. “I always worry about how [players] react or what they think.”

– Sabean apparently doesn’t have to worry about what Beltran thinks. He spoke to the switch-hitter, who had to waive a no-trade clause, and received positive feedback. “He very much wanted to be a Giant,” Sabean said.

Chris Haft

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