(The Spread) – The San Francisco Giants paid a steep price to acquire Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets. But they hope said price will mean another trip to the World Series.

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Late Wednesday, Beltran officially accepted a trade to the first-place Giants and will join them on Thursday in Philadelphia. In exchange for the right fielder, San Francisco sent the Mets top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler, a hard-throwing 21-year-old right-hander with a current K/9 of 10.0 in High-A ball.

Giving up Wheeler was essentially viewed as a necessity for a Giants team that has scored just 373 runs this season, which are by far the fewest for any team in first place. Only third baseman Pablo Sandoval has been consistent this year for San Francisco, which needed Beltran’s bat if its going to make a run in the National League.

Assuming he doesn’t get hurt or is a flop by the Bay, Beltran should help the Giants secure the NL West. The Diamondbacks only trail the Giants by three games but the addition of Beltran should help San Francisco widen the gap in the division. That said, do they have enough to take down the Phillies or Braves in the postseason?

Pre-Beltran, that question was undoubtedly no. The Giants’ pitching rivals that of anyone in the league, but their offense has been beyond putrid this season. With Beltran now in the cleanup spot, the Giants have thrust themselves into the conversation of which team is the best in the NL. Oddsmakers and the media will still favor the Phillies, but nobody has forgotten how the Giants dispelled Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee (then with the Rangers) in last year’s postseason. In other words, nobody should assume Philly has the NL pennant locked up.

According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bodog, the Phillies are currently favored to win the 2011 World Series at 5/2 odds. The Giants are now 10/1 after acquiring Beltran, as they were 14/1 just days ago. The Phillies also have 11/10 odds to win the 2011 NL Pennant, while the Giants are 5/1 and the Braves are 11/2.

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