No. 11: Mets trade Carlos Beltran to Giants for Zack Wheeler, 2011
Throughout the history of the Mets, they have rarely succeeded in trade deadline deals focused on selling. Many of the prospects they landed in an attempt to rebuild or retool turned into lifetime minor leaguers or tasted just a sip of Major League Baseball. A July 28, 2011 trade with the San Francisco Giants remains as an outlier.
After several seasons of playing some of the best baseball in team history, outfielder Carlos Beltran was traded to the Giants. Beltran was in the final year of his contract with the Mets and someone they were not going to re-sign as they got ready to rebuild. In return, the Mets received pitching prospect Zack Wheeler.
Wheeler is anything but a lifetime minor leaguer we forgot about. In 2013, he made his MLB debut. In his first two seasons, he looked well on his way to becoming a potential ace in the starting rotation. Unfortunately, injuries took away his 2015 and 2016 campaigns.
However, after a rocky 2017 campaign, Wheeler returned in 2018 significantly better. He had an epic second half that rivaled what Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom accomplished. Still a member of the Mets at least in the early part of 2019, he’s a rare prospect this team added at the trade deadline who became something.
There’s no comparing Wheeler to Beltran in terms of accomplishments. Beltran is a National Baseball Hall of Fame candidate. In parts of five seasons with the Mets, we’re still not even sure who Wheeler is.
Even so, the Mets did pretty well in this deal. They would have lost Beltran for nothing at all. Rather than deal him away for a small army of prospects, they landed themselves a true major league pitcher.