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While parting with Wheeler was a tough call, Sabean and his staff weighed dealing a pitcher or a top position player. And Wheeler wasn’t going to be in the mix at the major league level for a while.

Carlos is the player that we coveted all along,” Sabean said. “As we knew what the price of doing business was there, it became apparent no matter where we turned we were going to take a hit on our prospect list.”

That worked out for New York. This marks the second major trade for the Mets, who dealt closer Francisco Rodriguez to Milwaukee after the All-Star game.

“We were looking for big upside,” Mets GM Sandy Alderson said. “We could have gotten a package of three players from a number of clubs, but the overall potential of those players would not have equaled Zack’s potential.”

The Giants are batting .241 with 66 homers and 373 runs scores, all numbers that rank toward the bottom of the NL. Beltran will be an instant upgrade to an inconsistent offense. No Giants player on the roster has more than nine homers. Aubrey Huff leads them with 47 RBIs.