Picture this image with pinstripes. (Image: Jennifer Stewart, US PRESSWIRE)

Yankees Trade Target: Justin Upton


It is just days into the offseason, we all are trying to transition swiftly into it while pondering all the possible moves that Brian Cashman and the Yankees could make. The anticipation of the off-season is what makes it exciting for baseball fans. There’s an anxiety to the offseason when your team could be picking up a big name player, who could be the missing piece to your team’s eventual success. For some time now, the Yankees have been rumored to be one of the candidates for a trade involving Justin Upton. This didn’t seem reasonable 2-3 years ago due to a lack of flexibility in the team’s outfield. Now wish Nick Swisher being on his way out now and Curtis Granderson likely on his way out in late 2013, the front office has some outfield positions to fill.

Let’s get to know Justin Upton a little better before we continue.

Upton is 25 years-old and will be going into his seventh MLB season when the calendar turns to April next season. He was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round with the first pick in the 2005 Amateur Draft. He’s a two-time All-Star (2009 & 2011) and finished fourth in the NL MVP race in 2011. He’s signed through 2015, meaning Upton will be a free agent in 2016. So if he is obtained via trade his costs are controllable.

We can’t base anything Upton has done without numbers though. So here are some of his career statistics.

.278 AVG/.357 OBP/.475 SLG/.359 wOBA/116 wRC+

Pretty good numbers for playing majority of his games in a pitchers park out in Arizona. I’m sure his power numbers would increase dramatically in New York even as a right -handed batter. Something the Yankees are in need of. His power numbers have been jumping around for the past few seasons. His ISO was .232 in 2009, .170 in 2010, .240 in 2011, and .150 in 2012. If the trend continues and the Yankees somehow acquired him, then they’ll get a power year from Upton.

Much like Upton’s power numbers, his overall statistics have been jumping around from great to slightly above average. In his MVP caliber year in 2011 he posted a triple slash of .289 AVG/.369 OBP/.529 SLG, along with a .385 wOBA and 139 wRC+. Yet, in 2012 Upton had what we consider a down year for his standards. That included a .280 AVG/.355 OBP/.430 SLG/.341 wOBA/108 wRC+. If this is considered a down year, I’d be very pleased to see Upton have a good year in pinstripes. As a young player, Upton still has plenty of time to work on his consistency. He also seems durable, playing in at least 150 games in each of the past two seasons.

What would it take to get Upton to New York though? Likely a lot of prospects. Earlier I stated that Upton is a controllable player, which can be a positive and a negative. It’s a positive in that the Yankees won’t have to pay him quickly after the trade. It’s a negative in that means he’s more costly in terms of prospects.

I could see this deal working out. Arizona would need a premier prospect in return like Mason WilliamsGary Sanchez, or Tyler Austin. I prefer holding onto Williams so I would send over Austin or Sanchez. The Diamondbacks would likely want Sanchez because he’s going to hit 20 years old soon while the other two have already hit 20. By then the Yankees would have to offer a prospect of a lesser degree; for example a player like David Adams. If the Diamondbacks would to take Nunez in addition to Adams that wouldn’t be a problem either. Then to round out the deal the Yankees would probably send over a pitcher, possibly Brett Marshall.

Yankees receive: Justin Upton

Diamondbacks receive: Gary Sanchez C, David Adams 2B, Eduardo Nunez SS and Brett Marshall RHP

These are some of the top Yankees prospects along with the team’s utility man. Trading away Sanchez may mean trading away a prospect that could show even more power than Montero. His power at his age is that good, but I’d easily give him up along with these other guys for a sure thing like Justin Upton.

Last week in my post about Curtis Granderson I suggested that these trades would lead to our demise. Although that may be the truth, I don’t believe that’s the case here. When Upton’s deal eventually runs out, he’ll be the same age as Granderson was when he was first acquired by the Yankees. Meaning they’ll have most of his prime years being controlled.

This deal would work out for both teams. The Yankees satisfy their need for a right-handed hitter and a right fielder, while the Diamondbacks get a top-hitting prospect along with a projected to be serviceable second basemen, a utility player with MLB experience and a middle to back end of the rotation starting pitcher.

Tags: Justin Upton New York Yankees

  • LOLYANKS

    Arizona is a HITTERS’ park, not a pitchers’ park!!!

    • Joe

      In terms of runs scored, you’re right. I should have worded that better. In terms of dimensions though…

      Left Field – 330 ft / 101 m
      Left-Center – 374 ft / 114 m
      Left-Center (deep) – 413 ft / 126 m
      Center Field – 407 ft / 124 m
      Right-Center (deep) – 413 ft / 126 m
      Right-Center – 374 ft / 114 m
      Right Field – 334 ft / 102 m

      It’s deeper to right than Yankee Stadium’s short porch.

      • whonichol

        In terms of everything, it’s a rather extreme hitters park on par with Texas and Fenway. You should really remove that, because that right there is enough to stop reading the article (without even getting to the part where the Yankees would not be able to complete that trade)

  • lionel dubinsky

    nah, Nunez AND Sanchez in addition to the others is not only too much, but not the right package. we’re not set up to trade our best catching prospect with our only good prospect for SS in return for two years of a talented but erratic outfielder.

    Adams, if they want him, and pitching and an outfield prospect makes more sense for us rather than trading from where we’re thin. If it doesn’t suffice, then we’re better off not making the deal. corner outfielders aren’t scarce and if Austin or Williams are too good to trade for Upton, then we can wait on them.

    • Joe

      Austin and Williams are going to be good. It’s just Arizona would probably rather have our best hitting prospect. Or in my eyes our most potential filled prospect. Sanchez can play either catcher or 1B later in his career for Arizona since there is no DH. Nunez isn’t going to be a SS of the future. He’s shown poor fielding skills and is at best a not so prototypical DH. He’d probably serve a utility man wherever he may go.

      • lionel dubinsky

        Nunez is probably the SS of next year. His errors are slightly less costly than Jeter’s inability to get to what should be easily fielded balls.

        And I’m sure that Arizona would rather have our best hitting prospect just as I’m sure that including that prospect with Nunez, Adams and an other is more than we should think the trade worth.

        We would do better to resign Kuroda and offer Nova or Hughes

  • http://YanksGoYard.com/ Matt Hunter

    I don’t think there’s any way Arizona would do that trade. I could be wrong, but I think they’re going to want a lot more for Upton. He’s only 25, still has 3 years left on his contract (which isn’t cheap, mind you, but isn’t unreasonable either), and has one of the highest ceilings in the game. While Sanchez is certainly a good prospect, he’s only 19 or 20 if I recall, and probably still at least 2 or 3 years from the majors. That’s way too much uncertainty to give away your franchise player. And yeah, while the other guys you list are fine, they’re not going to excite a team that’s looking to rebuild. The Diamondbacks don’t need filler infielders, they need star potential. While Sanchez is definitely that, I think he’s probably not enough to justify giving up Upton.

  • ZEN MOE

    Uhm…

  • jaysad

    i love you yankees fans. you are about the same as boston fans and seem to feel entitled to every star on the market.. do you really think any gm with any sense or baseball knowledge whatsoever would agree to that trade???? are you kidding me??? a former mvp candidate and one of the most talented baseball players in the mlb for 4 unproven and not that highly regarded prospects (sanchez excluded). Get a grip!!! I have got to say I am sick of yankees and red sox fans expecting every star just to show up at their dooor for next to nothing just because it is ny and boston.

  • GoldGloveFreeman

    Lol “premier prospects”. do the Yankees even have one?

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