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Carlos Beltran won’t return to Giants if offense doesn’t improve

Big League Stew

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Despite the fact he's not under contract for 2012, Carlos Beltran is already campaigning for the San Francisco Giants to improve their offense.

Asked by Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News about his chances of returning to the team, Beltran said they aren't good if the Giants are only planning to pony up for his services and no one else's.

From the Mercury News:

Beltran left no doubt: It wouldn't be enough for Giants management to pin hopes on re-signing him plus banking on and health and production from catcher Buster Posey and second baseman Freddy Sanchez.

"I would consider this organization for sure, because the pitching is unbelievable, and adding those guys back, of course you're adding more offense to the ballclub," Beltran said. [...]

"But I believe there should be a little bit more than [Posey and Sanchez]," he said.

Translation: It was nice knowing you these past few months.

Sorry, I cost you Zack Wheeler. {YSP:MORE}

Troy Nelson of 22 Gigantes agrees that Beltran sounds like a goner if he's really expecting reinforcements and cites a payroll that already weighs in at $125 million as the main obstacle. Not only is that total hampered by the Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand albatross deals, it's set to rise once the team tries to sign Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain to longer deals, and players like Pablo Sandoval and Sergio Romo earn raises through arbitration.

I'll add that Beltran's posturing seems a little odd given the circumstances. If he's talking about the Giants adding a mega-free agent like Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder (who Larry Baer didn't rule out on Thursday) then, well, the team certainly wouldn't be able to afford him as well.

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If he's talking about the value-packed bats the Giants will almost certainly have to seek out, his destination for 2012 will likely already be determined by the time the team starts bargain shopping. The chances that Beltran will trust GM Brian Sabean to revamp the league's worst offense  — especially as the aging veteran still seeks his first World Series title — seem slim.

Beltran has been great for the Giants lately, hitting .442/.500/.884 with four homers and 10 RBIs since Sept. 2. But in the case of the NL West pennant race, that sparkling line still qualifies as too little, too late.

As for Beltran, the future of the Giants offense — even with Posey and Brandon Belt — probably won't qualify as enough. But with Beltran's free agency approaching, we'll see if the market allows him to be as choosy as he's being right now.

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