Trade Retrospective: Carlos Beltran


Next up on the trade retrospectives is the trade of Carlos Beltran on June 24, 2004. He was a part of a 3-way trade from the Royals, with the Astros receiving Beltran, the Royals receiving C John Buck, IF Mark Teahen, and P Mike Wood, and the Athletics receiving RP Octavio Dotel.

The Background

The Royals started out the 2004 season off to a slow start, which wasn’t entirely unexpected. Knowing that 5-tool outfielder Carlos Beltran would be a free agent at the end of the season, it became extremely clear that the Royals were very likely to trade him so that they would receive something in return for the free-agent-to-be.

The Astros were in the heat of a pennant race, and had spent a lot of money in the previous offseasons on high level acquisitions including Roger Clemens. They were 38-34, and only 5 games back of the first place Cardinals.

The Athletics were 40-31, only a single game back of the first place Angels, and well in the race for a playoff spot. They had been using Arthur Rhodes in the closer’s role but not particularly effectively, and needed some improvement at the back end of the bullpen.

The Moving Pieces

Carlos Beltran slotted into the Astros’ lineup in center field and in the heart of the order. The Astros added another excellent bat in their lineup with Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, and Jeff Kent already providing excellent production.

The Athletics slotted Dotel into as the closer, and moved everyone else back in the bullpen, with former closer Arthur Rhodes slotting in as the 8th inning guy.

John Buck was slotted in as the starting catcher for the Royals the next day. Mark Teahen was sent to AAA Omaha, and spent the remainder of the 2004 season there. Mike Wood was called up by the Royals and spent the remainder of the 2004 season in their rotation.

What Happened Next

Beltran had an excellent rest of the season, hitting .258/.368/.559. He helped to carry the Astros to the playoffs, with them qualifying for the wild card. His better performance actually came in the playoffs, as he hit .455/.500/1.091 with 4 HR, 9 RBI and 2 SB in the series victory over Atlanta. While they didn’t win their next series against the Cardinals, it wasn’t really anything related to Beltran’s performance, as he hit .417/.563/.958 with another 4 HR, 5 RBI and 4 stolen bases.

Octavio Dotel came in to Oakland slotted as the closer, and made 45 appearances. He posted a 4.09 ERA, a 6-2 record, and 22 saves. He also recorded 72 strikeouts in just 50 innings with the A’s, although was somewhat prone to homeruns, as he gave up 9 in that time.

John Buck hit .235/.280/.424 in 71 games, with 12 homeruns and 30 rbi. Mike Wood went 3-8 with a 5.94 ERA in 100 innings for the Royals, and was also prone to homeruns a bit, giving up 16 in that time frame.

The Net Moves

Houston – First Level

Carlos Beltran became a free agent at the end of the season, and was signed by the New York Mets. As a result of this, the Astros received two compensation picks from the Mets. They used these selections to take OF Eli Iorg (1st round supplemental) and SS Tommy Manzella (3rd round)

Oakland – First Level

Octavio Dotel pitched the remainder of the 2004 season, and the entire 2005 season with the Athletics, and became a free agent after the 2005 season. Unfortunately, he did not return any compensation picks for signing with the Yankees.

Kansas City – First Level

  • John Buck played for the Royals from the 2004 season through the end of the 2009 season, when he was non-tendered. He hit for some solid power for a catcher, hitting 18 in 2007. However, the batting average never really came along with it, and never hit for an average higher than .247 with them.
  • Mike Wood pitched for the Royals from the 2004 season through the 2006 season. Over that time, he posted an 11-19 record with a 5.28 ERA in 87 appearances (34 starts). He was waived by the Royals after the 2006 season, and claimed by the Rangers.
  • Mark Teahen spent the rest of 2004 at AAA, but was called up early in the 2005 season. He played for the Royals from 2005-2009, moving all over the field. 2006 was his best season with the Royals, as he hit .290/.357/.517 with 18 HR, 69 RBI and 10 stolen bases. During this previous offseason, he was traded to the White Sox for infielders Chris Getz and Josh Fields.

Houston – Second Level

  • Eli Iorg spent parts of the 2005-2009 seasons in the minors with the Astros, leading to his release in July of 2009. He appears to be out of baseball.
  • Tommy Manzella is now the starting shortstop for the Astros, although that only became fact at the start of this season.

Kansas City – Second Level

Chris Getz and Josh Fields are both currently on the major league roster, although Getz is on the disabled list. Both players appear to be hoping for a fresh start in Kansas City, as they were unlikely to break into the lineup in Chicago.

Overall Reactions

This trade was rather unusual, in that I am not 100% sold it worked out well for anyone. The Astros received an excellent half season of Beltran, but knew going into the trade that they were unlikely to resign him. As a result, the draft picks that they received as compensation had to calculate into the value received from him. And to this point, those have been a complete disaster. For the A’s, Dotel wasn’t quite enough to get over that last hump to get into the playoffs, and it is highly possible that he may have actually cost them some victories. I can distinctly remember feeling particularly un-confident in his ability to shut the door on the game when it was going on. The Royals probably made out the best on this, although I imagine that they had been hoping for a better return than the one that they got. Buck and Wood were essentially filler pieces based on their performance, but Teahen turned into a solid everyday player. It remains to be seen whether Chris Getz or Josh Fields will help them get return for him.

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One response to “Trade Retrospective: Carlos Beltran

  1. Pingback: Trade Retrospective – Johnny Damon « Jason's Baseball Blog

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