While nothing is final, the all-but-confirmed rumor flying out at the moment is that the Giants are trading top prospect RHP Zack Wheeler to the Mets for Carlos Beltran. The Mets are taking on Beltran's salary and only receiving one player in return, opting to get the highest quality prospect possible instead of a smattering of lower-rated 'spects. For us Rays' fans, this move opens up two big questions, which I'd like to address quickly:
How does this affect B.J. Upton's trade value? Now that Rasmus and Beltran are off the market, I only see Upton's value going up. There are still many teams out there that have expressed interest in adding an outfielder at the trade deadline this year -- the Braves, Phillies, Nationals, and Indians all jump to mind -- but now the only option remaining is Upton. I anticipated Friedman to wait until Beltran was dealt before moving Upton, so I fully expect him to allow the remaining teams to get into a bidding war for Upton.
Should we expect Upton to bring back more or less of a return than Beltran? More. Remember a week ago when I posted an article detailing Upton's trade value? I suggested that Upton was worth around the value of one top #25-50 pitching prospect or top #51-75 hitting prospect. Zack Wheeler, the pitcher the Mets acquired for Beltran, was rated by Baseball America as the 35th best prospect in baseball in their midseason rankings this year. In other words, he fell right in line with what we'd expect the Rays to receive for Upton.
Over the last couple days, the consensus among rumor-mongerers is that the Rays will receive a bigger return for Upton than the Mets do for Beltran. I don't think this trade changes anything, but instead solidifies what we already knew: the Rays should receive a solid haul for Upton. For any team interested in trading for Upton, the bar has just been set.