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Beltran to the Astros
by alex ciepley
So the Cubs won't have a monopoly on the baseball Beltrans, it appears, as Houston snagged Carlos in a three-way with Oakland and K.C.
Given that Vernon Wells isn't going anywhere, Beltran is the only available centerfielder for whom I'd have wanted to see the Cubs ship off Corey Patterson. Beltran's a sweet fielder and versatile hitter, currently tied with Jim Edmonds for highest VORP among baseball's centerfielders; this despite not having quite as explosive a year as many predicted for him. Houston's going to be the better for the trade, despite losing a great bullpen arm.
Are there centerfielders available who would likely outplay Patterson for the remainder of the year? Sure. Steve Finley comes to mind, but it would be obvious tomfoolery to ship Patterson out for a 40-year old rental. Corey is still young, and it can be hard to remember that. And while Patterson's biggest fault (plate discipline) is difficult to overcome at the major league level, he need only peer over his left shoulder while in the field to see the greatest contemporary example of a wild-swinging toolsy outfielder learning mid-career to look for a better pitch. They have different skill sets, but we can still hope that some of Sosa's learning ability can rub off on Patterson.