No Beltran or Pence? Now what?

Multiple reports have Carlos Beltran close to being traded to the San Francisco Giants. (Ben Margot/AP file photo)

The rumor mill is a-churning on this Wednesday afternoon, four days before Sunday's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. And there actually appears to be some substance to these tidbits; no more "Team X remains aggressive" type stuff.

Multiple outlets, the first being Yahoo! Sports (as far as I can tell), are reporting Carlos Beltran is inches away from becoming a San Francisco Giant. The Giants blinked first. They have reportedly decided to include 21-year-old righthander Zack Wheeler, rated as Baseball America's 55th best prospect in 2011, and that put them over the top. Wheeler was ranked higher than Jarred Cosart in BA's preseason ratings.

It's a blow to the Phillies, not so much because they failed to acquire Beltran, but that the Giants did. San Francisco has a gaping hole in its lineup that Beltran's .904 OPS will fill. He was the best hitter on the market, and the guy I advocated for simply because of that reason. Rental or no rental, he provided the best boost to win now.

The door on Hunter Pence is similarly closing, it appears. The indefatigable Jayson Stark of reported Astros GM Ed Wade walked away from a Phillies offer of Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and another minor-league pitcher for Pence.

The Astros, he said, want four "sure-thing" players for Pence. That offer jibes with what I've heard from people: Domonic Brown is not in play on any of these trade talks.

Right now, Vance Worley isn't either. That situation is somewhat complicated. I would consider myself in the minority when I say Worley should be far from untouchable. We all know he's not a 2.02 ERA pitcher. He may not even be a 3.27 pitcher, which is what his current FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) stands at. He is, at best, a No. 3 in a rotation. Most likely, he is a decent No. 4 or 5.


Should the Phillies trade Domonic Brown for a veteran righthanded hitter?

But he is 23 and under control (cheap) for quite some time. And the latest news on Joe Blanton suggests that this could be a serious issue that affects him beyond 2011. And Roy Oswalt's $16 million option is sure to be declined -- barring a Marty Bystrom-esque run in the season's final two months. So that leaves two rotation holes for 2012.

Still, if Worley is what's holding back a Pence deal, do you include him?

Or do you think smaller now, like perhaps Mike Adams of San Diego. He could be the shutdown, veteran late-inning bullpen guy in 2011, the closer next season and all at a relatively cheap price.

The White Sox cleared nearly $10 million in payroll Wednesday with the trade of Edwin Jackson, so does that mean Carlos Quentin is off the block after momentarily being on it? 

What if Ruben Amaro Jr. adds complementary bats, like Bob Brookover suggested in Wednesday's Inquirer?

We have a better understanding of the current market with this recent news. But as for the Phillies position? Still unclear.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.

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