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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The San Francisco Giants passed on the chance at adding a big bat at last year's trade deadline, yet the decision paid off, as the team rode their incredible pitching staff to their first World Series title in 56 years.
Lightning may strike twice, but do the Giants really want to take that chance, especially when the Philadelphia Phillies seem to be following the exact same script that the Giants wrote last year?
The story is the same as it always seems to be in San Francisco. The Giants need a bat. The New York Mets' Carlos Beltran is there for the taking. Now is the time for general manager Brian Sabean to pull the trigger before this becomes an all-out bidding war.
While the Giants may have held the upper hand in these talks a few weeks ago, recent reports have mentioned the Boston Red Sox and Phillies as being the favorites in the Beltran race, making it even more necessary for the Giants to act now.
Last year, San Francisco decided to wait on a bat and plucked Cody Ross off the waiver wire in August. Not only did Ross fit the clubhouse like a glove, but he became a hero in the Bay Area when he slammed two home runs off Roy Halladay in Game 1 of the NLCS, setting the tone for the whole series.
Now Sabean could take that same risk again this year and hope that a player falls through the cracks during the waiver period. But, why wait? Especially when it could be the Phillies, perhaps their biggest obstacle to a second straight National League pennant, who wind up with Beltran.
The Mets have said they would be willing to pick up whatever money is left on Beltran's contract for this season with the hopes of landing a top-of-the-line prospect. Given the interest of late, the Mets may wind up with at least two blue chip prospects.
Would the Giants be open to moving Madison Bumgarner and a major league-ready bat? If they want him, they might have to. There is talk in Philadelphia that the Phils are willing to deal Domonic Brown to get Beltran.
How bad do you want it, Giants?
The emergence of Buster Posey a year ago made Sabean's decision last July a lot easier when he chose to pass on Milwaukee slugger Corey Hart. In case you haven't noticed, Posey is no longer in the Giants' lineup and Nate Schierholtz is batting cleanup.
The Giants are hitting .244 as a team and have scored 361 runs with 64 home runs, the fourth-, third- and fifth-worst marks, respectively, among their NL peers. Not a comforting thought when you consider the prospect of potentially facing Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels down the road.
Let's be honest, the Phils and the Giants are in the same boat. Tremendous pitching staffs with inconsistent offenses. Forget Tim Lincecum and Halladay, Beltran could be the player who decides the NL pennant.
Given Jason Heyward's struggles, Atlanta also has stepped up its pursuit of Beltran. Apparently the Braves would be willing to move highly regarded right- hander Julio Teheran. Not only would it allow them to send Heyward down to the minors, but, of course, it would block Beltran from going to the two teams that in all likelihood will be standing in the Braves' way come playoff time.
Boston is apparently in the mix, but given the way Andrew Miller has looked of late and the injury situation surrounding its rotation, the Red Sox may have more pressing needs than adding another bat to a lineup that is on pace to be one of the best in the last 40 years.
The Giants can't afford to let this bat slip through the cracks.
As good as their pitching staff may be, Carlos Beltran might be the most important factor in the team winning another World Series title in October.
But Sabean has to act now.
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