UPDATE [4:06pm]: Beltran apparently took the entire team out for dinner last night. Selfish, classless move.
UPDATE [4:05pm]: Carlos Beltran is out of the lineup for the Mets tonight. Lucas Duda gets the start in right field.
UPDATE [3:54pm]: Joel Sherman is reporting that the Mets will send around $4 million of the $6 million remaining on Beltran's contract.
UPDATE [3:12pm]: If you want jump on the Twitter bandwagon early, you can follow Zack Wheeler at @Wheelerpro45.
UPDATE [3:07pm]: It's looking more and more like Wheeler is the guy, and the guy Sandy Alderson wanted all along. It also sounds like Wheeler, a high-strikeout, ground ball pitcher with spotty control, has a much better chance of becoming a top-flight big leaguer than Brown. ESPN's Keith Law had Wheeler ranked #36 in his pre-season top prospect list (subscription required):
Wheeler missed a chunk of the first half of 2010 with a badly cracked fingernail that forced him to slightly alter the way he grips the baseball and hurt his control, but it had no effect on the quality of his stuff. Wheeler will sit at 90-94 mph and show 96 or better with a big, slow, but tight curveball in the low to mid-70s; he has been mixing in an above-average slider in the 85-89 range and will flash an average changeup, the one pitch for which he doesn't show great feel yet.
Wheeler still is filling out physically and should have the workhorse, 220-inning build we expect from No. 1 starters, although I'm a little concerned about the stress his arm action might put on his shoulder. Overall he's an elite arm, with the potential for four average or better pitches including a plus fastball and the body to handle a big workload.
UPDATE [2:27pm]: Jon Morosi of FOXSports echoes the Wheeler report:
Source confirms Wheeler, not Brown, is in the #SFGiants’ most recent offer for Beltran.
Crowdsourcing: Do you prefer Gary Brown or Zack Wheeler?
Wheeler: #35 (BA) and #36 (BP)
Brown: #33 (BA) and #46 (BP)
UPDATE [1:53pm]: Joel Sherman throws a wet blanket on the fantasies that the Mets were getting Wheeler AND Brown:
As @Buster_ESPN 1st reported, appears #Mets r getting Wheeler. Official involved just told me Brown and Sanchez r not in deal
UPDATE [1:46pm]: Olney comes back with another possibility:
The Giants are expected to give up pitcher Zach Wheeler as the centerpiece of the Beltran trade.
Sickels gave Wheeler a B and said:
Not a great season, but the strikeouts and grounders are promising and I'll cut him some grade slack for another year.
Our Eno Sarris is excited about the possibility of Wheeler:
If the Mets get Wheeler... wow. Sure his walk rate aint great and he's in A+ ball, but 21-yr-old gets 60% GBs and has a double-digit K/9.
UPDATE [1:40pm EDT): Ken Davidoff reports:
#Mets are expected to get Gary Brown and, most likely, two other players in return for Beltran.
Outfielder Gary Brown was listed as the Giants' second-best prospect on John Sickels's pre-season rankings, to whom he assigned a "B" grade and said:
I admit some trepidation here. I love the speed, athleticism, and defense, but I admit I'm enough of a stathead to be concerned about the extremely low walk rate in college. I'll project him as a regular with this rating, but the shape that regular status takes is still uncertain in my mind, if his offense will really be as good as people expect. We'll see.
Brown is hitting .317/.386/.446 with High-A San Jose.
Looks like Beltran is indeed going to SF, according to source. Logistics being worked out.
Joel Sherman seems to confirm it:
Person involved said trade "not completed" Beltran to #Giants, but said everything works to make it a go
And ESPN's Buster Olney heard this:
The Giants at the one-yard-line in their negotiations for Carlos Beltran; the deal is almost finished.
And Jon Heyman chimes in:
just minor details to finish on Beltran with @sfgiants. major help for the world champions.
And our SBN brother Eric Stephen from True Blue LA adds:
Still waiting for the tampering charges for Brian Wilson lobbying for Carlos Beltran at the All-Star Game
There were rumors earlier today that Jonathan Sanchez was a possible return piece for the Mets, but that came from a "source" so treat it with the requisite skepticism.
If it indeed turns out to be the Giants, and the Mets get something of commensurate value in return, I'm okay with it. I kind of like the Giants — their flight from New York more than a half-century ago made way for the Mets to become a big league franchise — and I certainly don't find them abhorrent as I do the Phillies and Braves. I suppose the Red Sox might have been the ideal destination, as Beltran would be out of the National League and (hopefully) beating up on the Yankees to boot.
Keep checking back for updates as we'll be on top of this story all day.