The Mets reportedly have a deal in place to trade Carlos Beltran and cash (about $4 million, according to Jon Heyman) to the Giants for pitching prospect Zach Wheeler. The trade isn't official yet, since Beltran, as a "ten and five" player, has no-trade protection and can't officially be moved until 24 hours after the deal is agreed to. But if it goes through — and according to Joel Sherman, Beltran made it clear that he wanted to go to San Francisco, which would make this wait something of a formality — the Mets would have succeeded in acquiring a top prospect for Beltran. Says Keith Law on whether obtaining Wheeler for Beltran would be considered a major win for the Mets: "Hell yeah."
So who exactly would the Mets be getting here, if the trade becomes official? Well, last winter Wheeler was rated by Baseball America as the top pitching prospect — and second-best overall prospect — in the Giants system. Wheeler, now 21, was the Giants' top draft pick in 2009 (sixth overall), and in 88 innings over sixteen starts for single-A San Jose this year, has a 7-5 record with a 3.99 ERA and 98 strikeouts. (In his two minor-league seasons, he has 168 strikeouts in 146 and two-thirds innings.) Hardball Talk writes that he might be one of the top ten pitching prospects in baseball (and is almost certainly in the top fifteen), and notes that his curveball rates as one of the best strikeout pitches in the minor-leagues. (They also point to a more detailed scouting report from ProjectProspect.com, which offers an analysis — and animated gifs — of each of his pitches.)
As for Beltran, it's been widely assumed for a while now that he was going to be traded by this weekend's deadline, and as of this morning, it looked like the Giants and Rangers had emerged as the favorites to land him. But Beltran might have had an idea that something was in the works last night: According to the Times, "he took out a number of teammates in what amounted to a farewell dinner."