Jan
14

The Price for Justin Upton

By

(Norm Hall/Getty)

Late last week, Justin Upton invoked his no-trade clause to prevent a deal that would have sent him to the Mariners for four players. Those four players were, reportedly, top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker, infield prospect Nick Franklin, and big league relievers Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor. I’m not sure why the Diamondbacks pursued a trade with one of the teams on Upton’s no-trade clause to the point of agreement without first running the idea by him, but I digress.

Upton, 25, is no stranger around this parts. I’ve been writing about his as a trade target for years, including several times this offseason. Last we heard, the Yankees were not involved in any talks to acquire him but where willing to meet Arizona’s asking price. That first report came back in early-November and obviously things may have changed since then. We do know the Yankees continue to seek a bat though — Hal Steinbrenner said so a few days ago — and Upton obviously fits the bill. Given their tendency to pursue major trades in secret, let’s pretend they continue to pursue the younger Upton for our own amusement.

It’s not often we find out exactly what it would take to acquire a player in a trade, but that’s what we have here thanks to the failed deal with the Mariners. We know Arizona will take an elite pitching prospect, a very good infield prospect, and two big league relievers. Reasonable enough, though I’d argue it’s a bit of a bargain since Walker is more likely to never get out of Double-A than be an impact player. We have a frame of reference for a trade, but the problem is the Yankees can’t match it. They don’t have a pitching prospect remotely on par with Walker — a healthy Manny Banuelos might have been close — nor do they have a top-50-ish infield prospect like Franklin. Every team can match the two relievers part, but few have a Walker and Franklin of their own lying around.

Here’s the thing though: the Yankees don’t have to match that offer now. The Diamondbacks aren’t getting Walker and Franklin and two relievers. They lost some leverage when Upton blocked the trade to the Mariners for two reasons. One, it took a serious bidder out of the equation, so the market has shrunk. Two, the player-team relationship is likely so strained now that they’ll have no choice to trade him before Spring Training just to avoid the distractions. That doesn’t mean Upton will come cheap of course. It’ll still take a four-player package that includes two prospects, but maybe now they’re just pretty good prospects instead of elite.

(Christian Petersen/Getty)

Arizona acquired their shortstop of the future a few weeks ago when they essentially swapped Trevor Bauer for Didi Gregorious, so that position is no longer a focus in Upton trade talks. Franklin is a shortstop, but Baseball America (subs. req’d) recently said “he may fit better at second base because his range, hands and arm are all average.” That part of the trade seems to be more about getting the best possible return than filling a specific need anyway. If the D’Backs are hellbent on getting two top-100 prospects back, the Yankees have four to offer in catcher Gary Sanchez and outfielders Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, and Slade Heathcott. None will rank as highly as Walker, but Williams will rank ahead of Franklin while the others won’t be far behind. The exact rankings are trivial anyway, the important thing is that New York has the approximate pieces.

Much has been made of Upton’s shortcoming in recent weeks because that’s what we do nowadays — we focus on what he can’t do rather than appreciate him for what he is. Yes, Upton didn’t hit on the road this year (84 wRC+), but he’s also a 25-year-old right-handed hitter who owns a career .278/.357/.475 (116 wRC+) batting line, draws walks (career 10.1%) and steal bases (18+ in each of the last four years), grades out well defensively, is a year removed from an MVP-caliber effort (139 wRC+), and is signed affordably through 2015. If his left shoulder checks out (he had a labrum issue in 2010 and supposedly it gave him some trouble last year) during the physical, who cares if he didn’t hit on the road last season? Players like Upton aren’t available that often and sometimes you have to roll the dice.

There has been some speculation that the Yankees don’t like Upton’s contract, which will pay him $38M over the next three seasons. I assume that has more to do with the plan to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold in 2014 than his salary for 2013, when he’s owed just $9.75M. Trading Curtis Granderson to free up payroll space — a popular idea among the fans and MSM, apparently — wouldn’t impact 2014 and beyond since he’s a free agent next winter. Trading Granderson to make room for Upton would be about 2013. I don’t like the idea of using one to replace the other, but if the Yankees don’t have payroll space to add Upton for 2013, they probably don’t have space for Mike Morse (or Jason Kubel) either. Moving Granderson ($15M) frees up a big chunk of financial room for both Upton ($9.75M) and Morse ($6.75M), assuming the team can find another $1.5M in the couch cushions somewhere. Upton and Morse would be better than the Grandyman and some free agent DH, at least in theory.

Anyway, this Upton stuff gives me a bit of an Alex Rodriguez circa 2003-2004 vibe. A-Rod was rumored to be available all winter and eventually the Rangers reached an agreement with the Red Sox, but the union shot the thing down because of the proposed restructuring of his contract. Before you knew it, poof, Alex was a Yankee. Upton’s been available for months (years, really) and it wasn’t until just now that they reached a trade agreement, but this time it was the player who blew things up, not the league. The Yankees may not have the exact pieces Arizona is seeking and that could prevent a trade from happening, but I do believe they have enough to at least get their attention. We can thank the Mariners for that. If New York is unwilling to pull the trigger on a trade for a 25-year-old player of Upton’s caliber for financial reasons, well that’s just sad.

Categories : Hot Stove League
  • Raul Moandesi

    I really don’t understand the fascination with J.Upton. He’s doesn’t hit enough for a corner outfield spot and his defense isn’t good enough for center. People seem to assume he’s a five win player, but over the last four years he’s racked up only 13 fWAR. That’s good not great.

    Pass.

    • Raul Moandesi

      His salary makes him even more of a pass. Sure, he’s affordable for for 2013, but 2014-15 and he’s not severely overpaid as a three win player.

      I suppose one can argue that Upton is still improving, but that’s not at all clear in his stats. He’s been much better then gets worse – hardly the player to build the outfield around.

      For the money and no prospects, I’d rather they re-up Granderson. He’s been worth 3 wins more (16.1 fWAR vs. 13 for Upton) over the last three years. Granderson has been better with the glove and on the bases too.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Eh, I disagree about Granderson being better with the glove. He’s also seven years older. Granderson has out-WAR’d Upton these last three years, but I doubt it happens over the next three years as well.

        • Raul Moandesi

          Of course, Granderson is older, but then you also don’t have to give up decades of prospect value to get him. Plus he plays a more difficult position and offers value elsewhere.

          And Granderson has out-WAR’d Upton over the last *four* years and that’s including the second-best season of Upton’s career.

          Point is: It’s pretty close to a wash. Better to go with the player you know (the one who is also a great clubhouse guy) versus the devil you don’t (who is decidedly not).

          • LK

            The prospects they give up only constitute “decades of value” if they work out; they could easily end up being almost no value at all. The (likely) draft pick from Granderson also offsets the prospect value somewhat.

            Then, of course, without the budget, the best strategy might be to trade for Upton and re-sign Granderson.

            • Laz

              But you really only would need one of them to work out to be ahead.

              • YanksFanInBeantown

                If both Upton and one of the prospects work out, I’d take Upton 11 times out of 10.

                • OldYanksFan

                  Really? If one of our top 4 turns out to be 90% of Upton, you’d rather have Upton at $13m per, rather then one of our own, cost controlled for 4 years?

                  • YanksFanInBeantown

                    No one in our top 4 has a chance of being 90% of Upton if Upton works out.

                    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

                      Gary Sanchez says hello (assuming he sticks at C).

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      Yeah, if he reaches his absolute offensive ceiling and sticks at catcher he’ll be almost as good as Upton.

                      Upton’s ceiling is Gary Sheffield with speed and defense. Pardon my French, but he’s a fucking ridiculous talent.

        • trr

          +1!

      • Raul Moandesi

        Er, *is* severely overpaid after this year. For the same money, they should re-sign Granderson. Check out the comps:

        J.Upton: .278/.357/.475
        Grandy: .262/.341/.492

        If if we give Upton extra points for being much younger (and so room for growth, but ignoring his up-and-down trends – he hasn’t simply been getting better), he loses those points for playing an easier position and not as well. He also doesn’t offer anything on the bases.

        I’d rather pay Granderson on a four year deal, than get Upton (with several top prospects gone) through 2015 then have to worry about extending him through his 30s.

        • Blake

          One player is entering his prime….the other is exiting it….that’s a big difference. Also….Upton stole 18 bases last year….Granderson stole 10

          • Raul Moandesi

            What were their SB success rates?

            You also aren’t paying for Upton’s “prime”. He’s a free agent after 2015, when he turns 28. You’re paying free agent prices plus decades of prospect value.

            No thanks.

            • Blake

              You certainly wouldn’t be paying for Granderson’s prime…..much rather have age 25-28 seasons than 31-35.

              Upton stole 18 and got caught 8 times….he steals around 20 every year

              • Raul Moandesi

                Like I said, Granderson is a better runner. At those rates, Upton shouldn’t be running.

                • Blake

                  Maybe he was a better base stealer….but Granderson got thrown out 10 times in 2011 and only stole 10 bagsast year…..doubtful those numbers go up significantly as he enters his 30s

            • Blake

              Also there is literally no way you could re-sign Granderson to an 8.5 AAV contract…..

            • JobaTheHeat62

              this “dacades of prospect value” is a really really dumb term.

        • Brian

          If I am not mistaken Granderson isn’t exactly the model of consistency.

          • Raul Moandesi

            Granderson has been more consistent than Upton. Last year was the first time he dipped below 4 WAR since 2008. Upton has only been there twice in his career.

            • LK

              To play devil’s advocate here:

              Using bWAR, Upton just completed his age 24 season, in which he was worth 2.1 WAR. Granderson didn’t even have a full season until age 25 (he was worth 2.1 WAR at age 24 in a partial season, and worth 2.9 WAR at age 25).

              One can easily look at the fact that Granderson just had a down season at age 31 and conclude that he has started his decline phase.

              • Raul Moandesi

                By contrast, you assume Upton will keep getting better and better. Why assume that? His trajectory doesn’t suggest it.

                • LK

                  I don’t assume that at all. I’m merely pointing out that if you compare Granderson to Upton at the same age, there’s nothing to suggest that Granderson would be more valuable over the rest of his career than Upton will be. Upton has a lot of red flags, and so he might end up being significantly worse than Granderson. Then again, Upton has an MVP-caliber season under his belt at an age where Granderson wasn’t even established in the bigs. I’m just pointing out the error bars around Upton are huge, and his upside is considerably greater than I think you’re giving him credit for.

                  • Jarrod

                    +1

        • emac2

          Lamest use of stats I’ve seen for awhile.

          well since yesterday.

      • JU

        U got on too much of roll here and clearly overshot ur mark. The only part of Grandys game that is superior is power.

    • Josh

      Just a couple of things.

      -He’s a better fielder than Granderson

      -And most importantly, whats good enough for a Corner Outfielder than? His average OPS+ over the last 4 yrs is 4.5 points lower than Swisher. That’s including his miserable last year. And don’t try to argue that Swisher didn’t hit well enough for a corner OF.

      • Raul Moandesi

        - No he’s not. Upton plays an easier position and at best he’s average. Even if you assume Granderson has faded, he plays a harder position and at best he’s average. The average CF beats the average RF any day of the week. That’s why they play where they do – i.e., if Upton could play CF he would, especially since his bat barely cover a corner spot.

        – The fact you’re pointing out that Upton isn’t even as good as Swisher has been sort of seals the no thanks. Swisher is being paid less in his new contract than Upton will make in his existing one.

        No thanks.

        • johnnybk

          Swisher 4/56 Upton 3/38. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

          • YanksFanInBeantown

            Don’t feed the trolls.

          • Raul Moandesi

            I was talking about 2014-15. But that ignores the AAV as others here have pointed out.

    • Blake

      He was a 6 win player in 2011 and he’s 25 years old…. He’s just entering his prime

      • MannyGeee

        this

      • Raul Moandesi

        And he was worth 2.5 fWAR in 2012.

        No thanks. Maybe as a free agent in 2015, not now and not for prospects plus his contract.

        • Blake

          A certain Dodger with a similar talent level alternated great and medicine seasons in his early 20s before breaking out big time at 26…..that doesn’t mean Upton will do the same….just means that super talented guys that come up young sometimes take a few years to put it all together….but when they do look out.

          • Ted Nelson

            There are plenty of examples of young guys who flamed out or leveled off, too. Check out his most comparable players and you’ll find a few.

            • Blake

              There aren’t that many examples talented as Upton is though

              • Raul Moandesi

                How do you measure “talent”? Is that like “grit” or “hustle”?

                BJ Upton comes pretty close. How’d he turn out relative to his “talent”.

                • YanksFanInBeantown

                  You can measure talent by the fact that he has 70 power, 55-60 speed, 60 Hit, 55 Fielding and a 60 arm. He’s a true five tool player.

                  • Raul Moandesi

                    Ah, the lovely scouting scales, I see. Where did BJ Upton rate?

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      When has BJ Upton ever shown the kind of results that Justin Upton has?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      2007, 2008, 2010, 2011… he was at 4+ fWAR each of those seasons, which is about Justin’s average the last four seasons. He may not hit as well, but he plays a premium position, while Justin does not.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      2007, 2008, 2010, 2011… he was at 4+ fWAR each of those seasons, which is about Justin’s average the last four seasons. He may not hit as well, but he plays a premium position, while Justin does not.

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      2009 and 2011 were each better than anything BJ has done since 2007. And the question with BJ is whether you trust DRS or UZR, because DRS has him as pretty solidly below average.

                    • Raul Moandesi

                      You didn’t answer my question. Where was BJ Upton on the scouting scales?

                      As to why him, well, everyone assumed he’d get better and better. What happened?

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      BJ probably has 60 power, 75 speed, 50 Hit, 60 fielding and a 60 arm. I value power and contact over speed and fielding myself.

                • Blake

                  BJ isn’t nearly as talented as his bro….but he just got a 75 million dollar contract so he’s not doin that bad

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Based on what? Subjectively deciding who has talent and who doesn’t makes it very hard to actually discuss something with you. It’s a default argument that one can use in any situation: well, he has more “talent.”

                    • Blake

                      You could probably ask any baseball person which brother is more talented and they’d say Justin….subjective yes but a pretty common opinion

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Two, three, four years ago that might not have been as much the case, though.

                      BJ isn’t the only player you’ve made this case for, though. Jose Canseco was regarded as a ridiculous offensive talent, and you’ve also made the same cop out argument there. About Andruw Jones, even.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                  I don’t see why B.J. is relevant here. Did Jeff Weaver hold back Jered? No. Did Mike Maddux hold back Greg? No. This is silly. They’re two separate individuals.

                  • Blake

                    He’s not

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Not to defend Raul, but I do think he’s somewhat relevant here.

                    Relationship aside, the point I took from it was that extreme talent does not always translate into career results that match that talent. BJ was a #1 overall pick who had accumulated over 9 fWAR through his age 23 season. The sky was the limit for him, as well.

                    Deciding that Justin is the Greg Maddux or Jared Weaver to BJ’s Mike or Jeff is less relevant, to me, than citing an example of a talented guy who did not continue to progress as people expected/hoped.

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      Justin Upton accumulated over 14 WAR through his age 23 season.

                    • Blake

                      bJ was actually taken #2 overall

                    • Raul Moandesi

                      This.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Are we talking about talent or production or what here? Seems like whatever fits your guys argument.

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      Well Justin Upton beats BJ in both talent and production, so sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the evidence that shows BJ to be a poor comparison to his brother.

                    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                      Is the problem production or perspective? B.J. is a perennial 20-30 CF with very good defense. He’s really really good, but people thought he would be better. At some point we have to question the expectations, which are often unfair (same is true of Justin).

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Beantown – Production is all I really care about, but it’s not fair to adjust “talent” to a players’ performance over time. Then there’s no distinction between talent and production (and over time I don’t think there should be). As a young player BJ had huge tools. Huge talent. He didn’t grow into it.

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      But what I’m saying is that Justin has had a better hit tool all along. He never struck out more than 20% of the time in the minors. BJ didn’t strike out less than 20% of the time until his 3rd trip through AAA at age 21. Justin had almost 5 fWAR in his age 21 season.

                  • WhittakerWalt

                    BUT BILLY RIPKEN!!

              • Ted Nelson

                That’s very subjective. And easy to say in hindsight. Andruw Jones was very, very talented. Sierra and Canseco, likewise. Conigliaro was before my time. They all had comparable offensive seasons at the same age.

                • YanksFanInBeantown

                  Well, assuming Justin Upton doesn’t get hit in the eye by a pitch, I don’t really expect him to follow the same career path as Tony C.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Thanks for fixating on one detail. But, injuries do happen. A certain percentage of players will have career ending injuries.

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      My point was that Tony Conigliaro is not a valid comparison for anyone not named Juan Encarnacion.

                    • Raul Moandesi

                      Here’s the most similar through age 24:
                      Ruben Sierra (958)
                      Jack Clark (933)
                      Tony Conigliaro (931)
                      Ron Santo (926) *
                      Andruw Jones (926)
                      Greg Luzinski (917)
                      Del Ennis (916)
                      Grady Sizemore (914)
                      Cesar Cedeno (913)
                      Johnny Callison (909)

                      The only guy I sign there long-term in hindsight are ???? They are all very flawed…just like Upton.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Because no other player ever gets hurt, right? From the guy who says Upton’s struggled two of the last three years due to injury.

                      Just last season the Yankees had a guy out after getting hit in the wrist and another got hit in the shin.

                      I was not saying they are perfectly comparable. I am saying that is one sample of a guy who had a similar 23 year old season.

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      Fair enough. Tony C is a unique case though. He was a generational talent that got screwed over by circumstance. To use a slight hyperbole, it’s like using Kirby Puckett as an example of why someone will be done by age 35.

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      Fair enough. Tony C is a unique case though. He was a generational talent that got screwed over by circumstance. To use a slight hyperbole, it’s like using Kirby Puckett as an example of why someone will be done by age 35.

                • Blake

                  I’ve never mentioned Jose Canseco in any argument ever so…..

                  • YanksFanInBeantown

                    And Jose Canseco had a pretty damn good career.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Why do you keep lying about what you said? It’s right there for everyone to see. You said none of the players I mentioned was a comparable talent… Canseco was one of 4 I mentioned.

      • Ted Nelson

        While I don’t agree with Raul’s extremism here, the 6 win season + prime years coming up is not the end-of-case argument that so many of you are making it out to be. Look at B-R’s most comparable seasons at the same age to Upton’s 23 year old (best to date) season. For the top 4 or something that was a career year. A player’s prime is a theoretical construct that works when you average together a large number of players. There is a lot of sample to sample variation. For someone who has been as inconsistent as him, possibly because of major recurring injury, I would like to look a little closer. Not to say the results will be bad. They might be great. Just to say it’s a red flag.

        • YanksFanInBeantown

          He had a thumb injury all season that forced him to wear a pad on his thumb in order to grip a bat.

          The thumb pad came off on August 25th. Here are his stats for the rest of the season:

          http://www.baseball-reference......g_gamelogs

          Pretty similar to 2009 and 2011, if you ask me.

          • Raul Moandesi

            That’s called cherry-picking. And it also doesn’t explain 2010.

            Upton’s stats so far show an under-powered corner OF bat. That may change, but he’s hardly the guy to drop big money plus big prospects on.

            • YanksFanInBeantown

              What did I “cherry-pick?” Only showing his stats in the games in which he could properly grip a bat?

              • Ted Nelson

                Two injuries in three years is a red flag to me. And while it’s possible that represents his true ability, it’s also a small sample. What are your thoughts on Ichiro? He also tore it up after moving to the Yankees, so hopefully you’re full of hope on him. His mental grip could have been the reason…

                • YanksFanInBeantown

                  Over the same period Ichiro’s OPS was over 70 points lower despite a 40 point higher batting average and a 50 point higher BABIP. Upton’s BABIP was actually 25 points below his career average while Ichiro’s was 15 points above his career average.

                  Ichiro is also 39 years old and has been terrible with the exception of that sample over the last two years. In fact, Upton outproduced Ichiro despite being injured that entire year.

                  Great straw man, though. It held up for the entire 45 seconds it took me to look at Ichiro’s game logs on Baseball Reference.

                  • Raul Moandesi

                    Wow, you need to get a grip. The Ichiro argument was not a comp to Upton. It was a reference to you using small samples and then saying “Yes, see that! That’s his *real* talent! That is! Right there!”.

                    People have been doing that his whole career. The better question is: If he’s as good as people believe, why is Towers trading him again?

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      My point was that my sample size was less arbitrary as it began when he recovered from his injury and matched up with his career numbers, including his peripherals as opposed to Ichiro’s BABIP induced resurgence.

                      That stretch of games was the only point in the season in which Justin Upton was fully healthy. As such, it is relevant.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    It’s ok to create a narrative for Upton, but not Ichiro?

                    Logic doesn’t work too well on you, huh? I didn’t compare Ichiro’s talent to Upton. Your comment was irrelevant. I said if you can make a narrative for Upton, I can for Ichiro too.

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      But Ichiro’s sample was utterly arbitrary and mine wasn’t. That’s the key difference.

                      If, say, Ichiro had been playing injured all season and he was finally healthy enough to grip a bat properly at the beginning of his sample size, you would have a point.

                      But he wasn’t and you don’t.

            • YanksFanInBeantown

              Also, his shoulder injury is what explains 2010. Upton’s stats so far show that when he plays injured to help his team he loses some power, and that when he’s healthy he has 30+ HR power.

              • Ted Nelson

                So, is he going to be healthy or hurt in 2013? 2014? 2015?

                • YanksFanInBeantown

                  That is the 38 million dollar question isn’t it?

                  I’m leaning towards healthy considering that the thumb injury was pretty fluky, but all injuries are fluky until a guy becomes injury prone.

                  • Raul Moandesi

                    Love how every time he sucks, you say it was an injury. Your island must be a beautiful place to live.

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      Well, every times he has sucked, he has been injured.

                      There’s a pretty clear correlation between his being injured and his playing poorly. There’s also one between his being healthy and his being one of the best players in the game.

                      Feel free to interpret that data however you wish.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Again, will he be healthy in the future?

                    • YanksFanInBeantown

                      And again, I agree with you that that is the main question with Upton. I’m pretty optimistic because he clearly recovered from the shoulder problem in time for 2011 and the thumb problem was a fluky injury that seems to have cleared up.

                      I really don’t have a problem with you here because you are generally being respectful and are making legitimate arguments.

                      This guy on the other hand is doing neither and in fact willfully ignoring anything that does not fit into his preconceived notions that Justin Upton is an over-hyped bust.

                • YanksFanInBeantown

                  That is the 38 million dollar question isn’t it?

                  I’m leaning towards healthy considering that the thumb injury was pretty fluky, but all injuries are fluky until a guy becomes injury prone.

    • craig

      16.7 fwar over the past 4 years…Upton is very good and he is going to enter his prime years now. He is going to explode, in my opinion (as long as his shoulder is healthy).

      The people who complain about his inconsistency should look at Cano’s ups and downs a few years ago.

    • dalelama

      Let’s hope your Aroid vibe isn’t an indication of how an Upton trade will turn our. I don’t know if we could handle another deal that has the rotting malodorous stench of our Aroid trade.

    • Voice of Reason

      I don’t know that defining him by his average season makes any more sense than defining him by his 2011 or his 2012. Would anyone really be surprised if he resumed the career path most were anticipating going into 2012? He’s been an all-star level performer multiple times already, so it’s not as if teams seeking to acquire him are looking to overpay for a merely somewhat above average player – the idea is that his better seasons are indicative of his true talent level going forward, not the worse ones.

      Clearly, the Diamondbacks think it’s the latter, while teams looking to trade for him presumably expect the former. It’s hard to assume anything about Justin Upton, and that’s why he gives me a great deal of pause, but if he returns to the form he’s shown in the past he’ll be one of the more valuable commodities in baseball.

  • Tom

    Mike – isn’t Upton’s current contract AAV ~8-9mil? (which is what would feed the luxury tax calculation?)

    The media keeps talking about 189mil and are using actual remaining salary. Putting aside the Granderson mistake by some of the beat writers, is the issue the 2014 payroll or the 2014 luxury tax threshold because I think they are significantly different for Upton. While I assume the actual payroll is somewhat important, I have to think the primary concern is the luxury tax calculation.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I’m pretty sure it’s in that $8-9M range, which would be the entire contract. I’m not 100% sure though. I’ll worry about it if they do trade for him.

      • Blake

        8.54

    • Joba is Einhorn…Einhorn is Joba

      The AAV of uptons contract would be for the AAV of the final three years of his contract IF he is traded. See from the CBA below

      Determination of Actual Club Payroll
      (2) Rules of Allocation of Salary
      b. Assignment of Contract
      1. If a Uniform Players Contract is assigned by any means to another MLB club, the Assignor club shall be allocated Salary through the date, and Salary shall begin being allocated to the Assignee club on the following day.

      The assignee club assumes the contract from the date of the transaction and notice the word “allocated”. Legal definition of “Allocate” The apportionment or designation of an item for a specific purpose or to a particular place.

      Therefore from the date the contract is assigned the calculations or “allocation” of the contract as it pertains to the new club starts all over again. Essentially, for the sake of determining a club’s payroll, it is a new contract.

      • Blake

        I don’t think this is correct… I believe all that means is that the new team starts paying his salary…..the contract is assigned to a new team as is from everything I’ve read.

        • Ted Nelson

          I don’t know, but the only place I’ve seen your interpretation is on this blog. I believe that everything else I’ve seen says that the team pays luxury tax on what they’re paying the player.

          • Blake

            Sherman and Rosenthal have both indicated it was this way in columns and I’ve seen it numerous other places as well……Im not 100% sure this is correct but nobody seems to know for sure and the consensus I’ve read points to the entire contract AAV carrying over…..if its not then in Uptons case that’s a pretty big difference in AAV

          • Preston

            This was my impression of the rules as well. And I tend to believe the person who cited the actual CBA language in his post. So Upton’s cap number would be around 12.7.

            • Blake

              I’ve read the CBA about this multiple times and its just not 100% clear….but from what I can tell and what I’ve read it’s the entire contract AAV…..I do wish someone could confirm that with MLB though…..

              Another CBA tidbit that some don’t know….,Jeter will cost 15.5 million towards the tax in 2014 if he except triggers his player option….

      • Ed

        You’re looking too narrowly at the CBA. That section refers to how the current year’s salary is split between the teams if a player is traded mid-season.

        You need to look at the section that specifies how the annual salary is determined. That section specifically states that AAV of the entire deal is used.

        • Blake

          Yup

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    THE PRICE IS TOO DAMN HIGH!

    • Havok9120

      While I don’t feel the need to scream, I agree. I’m pretty low on him though.

      • Mykey

        I believe he’s referencing the rent being TOO DAMN HIGH!

        • Klemy

          This…

    • mikef

      the odds of either of the two key players the Yanks would trade matching the production of Upton are very scarce….and while no one is grading him as a superstar, he is not being paid like a superstar either.

      he is a dynamic player who might be just better than average in YS3….but adding some pop to the outfield, some atheltecism to the team and finding a RH bat which will not clog the DH spot for the next few years makes a ton of sense- and hopefully entering his prime with a proven skilset at the pro level at a set price isnt a bad risk.

      if Cano leaves after this season, there will literally be no potential impact players left on the team with any potential for upside, as the whole roster ( with exception of Pineda if he returns) theoritcally will have seen better days.

      There needs to be some players entering their prime at all times ( like Cano, Gardner, Swish and Robbie were for the last few years, briging CC and Tex who were bridges from Jeter, Arod, Mo etc….), for a variety of reasons, and without an infusion of quality young players there will be a huge gap which is more impossible to fill with salary cap and increased revenue throughout the league.

      I dont see another young guy who will be available ( stop salivating over Stanton…there is no reason for the Fish to trade him) so it make sense to go all in for Upton.

  • BJ

    Upton is one of my favorite young players in the game right now, and a perfect fit in RF for the Yanks. I would happily swap two of our top 100 prospects (ARI would probably ask for Williams and one other) and two relievers for him. Considering that Upton represents probably the max ceiling we can hope for from Williams, I wouldn’t have an issue giving him up.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Yeah, but you’re his brother…

    • YanksFanInBeantown

      HAH!

      Mason Williams’ ceiling doesn’t even sniff Justin Upton’s 2011, and I love Mason Williams.

    • Voice of Reason

      Regardless of what Williams’ ceiling actually is, that’s terrible reasoning.

  • Preston

    I’ve been beating the drum for Upton for a long time. I’m tired of arguing why he’s really good, or that he’s worth the haul. All I’m going to say is that their is a reason that the conversation keeps circling back to him. It’s because he’s the best available player.

    • Raul Moandesi

      Stanton says hello. And even if he’s not available this year, better to save the chips and get him next year.

      • Jim Is Bored

        Cost for Stanton >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Cost for Upton.

        And upton isn’t cheap.

        • jjyank

          Yeah, this. The Yankees actually have a chance at acquiring Upton. Not so much on Stanton.

          • Raul Moandesi

            Puh-leeeze. Good/great seasons from the Yankee prospects puts them in the top five league-wide.

            • jjyank

              You can’t just assume the entire farm system is a best-case scenario 2013. As of right now, they couldn’t get Stanton if they wanted.

            • WhittakerWalt

              So you’re willing to believe we’ll get great seasons from prospects, but not willing to believe Justin Upton can be healthy and productive for the Yanks.
              You’re actually putting more faith in prospects than in proven major league talent.

            • Klemy

              Farm system rank does not equal a possible trade match.

        • Raul Moandesi

          You mean like the cost for Miggy Cabrera?

      • Preston

        He might not be available next year, or the year after. In fact he might not ever be available. Players like that usually aren’t. Which is why this Upton situation is so strange.

        • Raul Moandesi

          Look at the Marlins payroll. He’ll be available once he’s arb-eligible.

  • Donny

    I like the direction of this piece. I am especially intrigued by what the team assumes is the asking price. Is it Sanchez, plus Nova/Phelps,one of the three outfielders and Logan? Is it more? Is it less? Obviously the Yankees never have and never will allow that information to get out, but it is an intriguing thought.

    One other thought – the assumption remains that Granderson is the piece that would be dealt in the event that money needs to be freed up and/or prospects can be acquired with the purpose of being flipped. Though a prospect can’t free up any money, it may make sense to deal from strength to another team that could offer a middle infielder that Arizona covets. Obvisouly Mike broached this subject before, but if you start to put some of the pieces together of different thought processes, the Yankees make as much sense as a landing spot as does any other team at this point.

    It obviously comes down to the one thing everyone on here has been annoyed with – the fact that for the first time in many of our baseball lives, the Yankees are exhibiting financial restraint.

  • LK

    The monetary cost shouldn’t figure into this – Upton is very affordable. If the Yankees don’t make this move, I hope it’s because they don’t agree the prospect cost is worth it.

    • Ted Nelson

      I think it’s basically impossible to separate the two. It’s a with or without test. What do you have if you add Upton, vs. what do you have if you don’t add Upton. If you don’t add Upton you not only still have the prospects, but you also have the money to spend elsewhere on your roster. There’s some confusion as to whether his luxury tax number would be ~$8 mill for the Yankees, or ~$13 million. If it’s about $13 million, that’s a pretty good FA you can sign (or two decent ones or 3 ok ones…) while hanging onto your prospects, relievers, whatever the trade cost.

      • LK

        Right, but I don’t think you can get value equal to Upton for $13M in free agency (you may disagree if you’re down on Upton). My comment above may have been worded too strongly – obviously you can’t completely disregard the salary, but when a guy is signed below-market (as I believe Upton to be), the main concern is which prospects you have to give up to acquire him, and whether you think those prospects are more valuable than the difference between Upton’s salary and what he’s actually worth.

        The report from yesterday (which I don’t really believe to be true) stated that the Yanks were willing to pay the prospects that Arizona wanted but didn’t want to pay Upton’s salary – it’s this scenario that doesn’t make sense to me.

        • Ted Nelson

          I don’t think you’re likely to get a better player in free agency at that cost. I do think you’re likely to get a bit worse player, though. The Red Sox got three ~3 fWAR players for that AAV. Upton has been a 4 win player, and while I’d adjust up a bit for age I am not willing to ignore the shoulder or whatever else has caused the bad seasons. They did happen and might happen again.

          When you add in the expected return from two top 50, top 100 prospects and two complementary cost controlled pieces (if that’s the cost)… it’s not that hard to argue not trading for Upton is preferable. I am not saying that an argument for trading for him is wrong, just that it’s not necessarily right.

          • Jim Is Bored

            There’s fair arguments on both sides; I really think it comes down to which prospects Arizona would take.

          • LK

            I agree with all of this. I’m not especially bullish on Upton. I guess I just don’t understand the report that the obstacle to trading for him is his salary – but, like I said above, I don’t necessarily believe that report anyway.

            • Ted Nelson

              I don’t necessarily believe the report, either, but I could see it being the salary (and only three years of control, which is good but not great) on top of the prospects you’re giving up.

              We can argue about who is better or worse, but I believe that Swisher and Granderson were a lot cheaper than Upton and controlled a year longer even before $189 was a consideration. Granted, Swisher cost little in talent. Granderson fetched a somewhat comparable price to Upton, though.

              There are legitimate arguments that he’ll get better in his late 20s (though also that he won’t), but the Yankees also just declined to pay a bit under $15 million per to a 4 fWAR RF in Swisher. Depends on the luxury tax number a little, but could be similar thinking with Upton… who while he has more upside would cost more in prospects (Swisher would have cost the supp. pick).

              • Ted Nelson

                None of that is to disagree with what you’re saying, by the way, just to think out loud a bit on the subject.

                • LK

                  I think the Swisher trade is a tough comparison because it turned out to be such a fleecing. It is true that they just declined to sign Swisher for similar money, but he’s also considerably older for his new contract than Upton will be for his.

                  The Granderson trade is an interesting point of comparison. Granderson was under control for 4 years instead of 3 and made less money. He was also older and, like Upton, coming off a down year. I think the consensus is that Upton has the higher ceiling due to his prospect pedigree (when Grandy was Upton’s age he was barely established as a ML player). I think giving up a package similar in value to what they gave up for Granderson might sense. Kennedy and Jackson were both ML-ready though, and they don’t really have anyone like that right now.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          but when a guy is signed below-market (as I believe Upton to be),

          For 2013, yes. But he’ll earn $14 mil+ for 2014 & 2015,which may be reasonable, but certainly isn’t below market right now.

          If he puts up 300/400/500 in 2013, then I’ll agree it’s a below market contract. But from where we stand today, no.

          • LK

            I think it will still be below-market; $14M doesn’t buy what it used to. Remember, Swisher got more than that for seasons in his mid-30s. Upton will be in his mid-20s and his 2011 was better than any season Swisher has had. If Upton’s shoulder is shot, then I would agree with you.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    He’s just what we need. give up the farm

    • Raul Moandesi

      You must be smoking meth. Stanton is the guy they need. Barely replacing Swisher isn’t an upgrade.

      • Jim Is Bored

        It’s an upgrade on what we have now.

        • Raul Moandesi

          Not over Swisher, it ain’t. Upton could be, but he’s not established himself to that level. He could wind up as a consistent 5-6 win player. He’s not that now and may never be.

          • YanksFanInBeantown

            which part of “what we have now” did you not understand?

            Was it the “what,” was it the “we,” was it the “have,” was it the “now,” or was it some combination of the words?

            • Raul Moandesi

              What “we” have “now” is a product of decisions they made not two months ago. If they wanted Swisher’s production, they could have simply re-signed Swisher….

              • jsbrendog

                oaktag. it isn’t that simple

              • WhittakerWalt

                But they didn’t re-sign Swisher, and his production needs to be replaced. J.U. is also much younger.

  • Ted Nelson

    I sort of think the two relievers part is the interesting part, actually. As you say, they can give them two top 100 prospects, maybe even two top 50 guys. Up the middle guys, even. The two RPs Seattle offered had 5 and 6 years of control each (B-R) and MLB success, though. The Yankees don’t really have an exact match. Could be some combination of Phelps, Nova, Warren, Turley, Marshall, Montgomery, Goody… Could be someone with less control but a better track record like Robertson. Which combination, if any, or alternative goes with the two top prospects could go a long way to determining the ultimate return.

    I do care that Upton has been an average starting RF two of the last three years. Especially if it’s due to a recurring shoulder problem. I’m not saying I don’t want him. I’m saying that’s a large red flag that should not be ignored by simply smoothing it over with his career averages.

    Clearly the Yankees can afford Upton. I think it says more about how they prioritize him compared to alternatives. They might not want to afford him over simply re-signing Cano and Granderson or using the money elsewhere, and holding onto their prospects. They might say “it’s a fair price that we could meet, but we just prefer an alternative outcome to that outcome.” If $189 mill is the goal, clearly they will spend more than Upton’s tax number to get there. Apparently they don’t want to spend it on Upton, though, if that rumor is true.

    • Preston

      Kevin Towers loves him some relievers. I do think that the key to that trade was Walker, he’s probably in most people’s top ten, which is considerably more valuable than a top 50 guy.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, he’s the key. Sanchez + Williams give you two guys at premium positions, though, and Walker struggled in AA. He has a huge ceiling, but I might take a C prospect of Sanchez’s ilk before a P (for similar reasons to why I opposed the Montero deal).

        • Preston

          This stuff is always apples and oranges because it doesn’t matter how we, experts or other teams value a prospect, just how that one GM does, so who knows.

  • EV

    Let’s say the Yankees pull the trade off today. Based on above, you wouldn’t trade Curtis. So what exactly would you do with the OF? Kinda have one too many.

    • Max

      one of them becomes the dh? granderson

    • Get Phelps Up

      That’s a pretty good problem to have. I’d make Granderson the DH or shift Ichiro into a 4th OF role.

      • EV

        But then the marginal improvement becomes much smaller due to the wasted defense (or lack of ABs). Because of that, I think it makes sense to trade one of the extra OF (Curtis being the more logical one) to improve another area of the team where the improvement can be more dramatic.

        • Voice of Reason

          Correct.

    • Raul Moandesi

      DFA Ichiro

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Flush $13 mil down the drain.

        Yeah, that’s gonna happen.

      • jsbrendog

        you know, i didn’t agree with you up above, but i didn’t really vehemently disagree….but the more you keep spouting nonsense…i dunno…

    • MannyGeee

      In the above scenario, you have 4 with an open DH spot until August. Granderson being the weakest fielder of the 4 (scary sentence, ain’t it?) would likely DH some of those days to keep that bat in the lineup. Also, Ichiro would take some days off here and there.

      In addition, we did not consider that Gardner might be part another move. Not that we would expect it, but would you turn away Gardner as part of a Carlos Santana deal? #irresponsiblerumormongering

      • Raul Moandesi

        Except Granderson is a better fielder than Upton. Average CF > Average RF

        Plus, if the reports on Upton’s shoulder are true, that’s another knock against him.

        • YanksFanInBeantown

          I think you misspelled “Below average” and “well above average.” And the only reason TJU plays RF is because Chris Young is one of the better defensive CFs in the league.

          • Raul Moandesi

            So Upton is going to be a CF in his new home? Puh-leeeeze.

            He’s a light-hitting corner OF.

            • YanksFanInBeantown

              “He’s a light-hitting corner OF”

              Statements like this are I’m getting annoyed even though you have been making some fair points. It’s unsubstantiated hyperbole and it makes you look like a troll at best. He’s a light hitting corner OF when he’s not hitting for massive power to go with his always present strong average and OBP. And those years seem to mysteriously correspond with years in which he has been dealing with nagging injuries throughout the entire season.

    • Blake

      Try to trade Granderson or Gardner for something else you need (like a SS or 3B prospect….or pitching )

      • TheManchine

        Granderson for Olt.

        • Blake

          Thatd be wonderful….don’t know if the Rangers would do that though

  • Gonzo

    One thing we don’t know is how much, if at all, the DBacks value Walker and Franklin’s experience at AA and above.

    It’s possible that they value the Yankees’ hitters less than we do because of their lack of AA+ experience.

    • Ted Nelson

      We don’t know, but I believe the rumor we’re reacting to implies that the Yankees have prospects the Diamondbacks are interested in.

      This is not a hostile comment, by the way.

      • Gonzo

        I think the Yankees have the prospects. The rumor kind of tells us that, but we are assuming that it’s just two of the top four hitters then then two reliever types. It’s possible that the DBacks want more because they view the top four hitters as not far along enough for whatever reason.

        It’s possible that the DBacks view them as lesser and the Yankees have the pieces for a trade. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

        • Ted Nelson

          They could also prefer the Yankees prospects. As you said, we have no idea.

          • Gonzo

            Absolutely. Just pointing out that “having the prospects” could mean a lot of things. Having four guys without serious AA experience is what it is.

          • Gonzo

            BTW, my original comment was about how they may value experience at AA+. It had nothing to do with how they value Yankees’ prospects. Just want to be clear here.

            BTW, this is not a hostile comment.

  • Murderers’ Row Boat

    Having to hear about Justin Upton every day for the past 6 months is price enough.

    • MannyGeee

      Giancarlo Stanton takes offense.

  • Charles

    What kind of deal do you think they could put together to give the D’Backs what they want? I think something like this:

    Yankees get:
    Justin Upton (And presumably most of his contract)

    D’Backs get:
    David Adams
    Boone Logan
    David Phelps
    Williams/Austin

    Thoughts?

    • Gonzo

      My initial reaction is not enough. Just my opinion though.

    • Max

      I don’t think that’s enough. Prob more like Williams, Austin, Phelps, Logan

      • John C

        can have only 1 of Williams/Austin. Not both. As Mike said, DBacks have lost a little levrage with Upton refusing trade to Seattle

    • MannyGeee

      Kevin Towers passes out from lack of oxygen due to laughing fits. Juston Upton starts at two of the 4 mentioned above (Sanchez, Austin, Williams, Heathcott) and maybe Phelps + Boone. Not sure David Adams has the prospect clout to keep in this conversation.

  • Mark

    How about getting the Phillies involved in a 3-way deal? They want/need a big OF bat, so we can ship them Grandy. The Phills and Yanks both send two prospects to the DBacks, and Jupton to the Yanks.

    • Mark

      Depending on what the Phills would include, it could only cost the Yanks a Phelps and Mason Williams type of package.

      • MannyGeee

        Or the Phillies can just go get Upton for themselves.

        • Mark

          The Phillies don’t have enough depth to get Upton themselves.

  • Dalek Jeter (formerly: Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM))

    I’d love to have 2011 Justin Upton on this team for the next 3 years (maybe like 7 w. an extension) and I totally think he’d be worth the package it would take to get him and would be a steal at (quoting Blake) 8.54 AVV. However, if we’re getting 2010 or 2012 Upton, I’m far less interested.

  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

    Maybe my opinion of Upton is tainted by his brother who never reached his potential but I’m really torn as to whether the Yankees would be better off holding onto their top prospects since they’re gonna have several holes to fill in the coming years, not just right field or trade for Upton. On the other hand, even if Upton tops out as an average or slightly above average RFer as he has been 2 of the last 3 years, what are the chances that whichever prospects the Yankees trade even reach that level.

    • Ted Nelson

      You’d probably trade for him on that question alone. When you consider the $ to spend elsewhere and the two theoretical complementary pieces as well, though, the answer might change.

      • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

        That’s true though the salary doesn’t concern me as much since I would think Upton at worst would end up a 2-3 WAR player in RF and that would still pretty much justify paying him $12-13 million per year. Also assuming the Yankees could get better production from RF for that amount of salary investment I think would be asking a lot, IMO.

        Sure, the other 2 potential trade pieces could change everything depending on who they are

        My biggest hold up though is the prospect hugger side of me that envisions an outfield of Mason, Slade and Austin with Sanchez as catcher though that’s obviously pie in the sky and not realistic but one can still hope.

        • Ted Nelson

          I’m not saying to get better production at one spot than Upton. What I’m saying is the cumulative value of a with vs. without scenario. Something like Upton vs. 2 top prospects, Phelps, Montgomery, and a ~3 fWAR FA (Victorino, Napoli, Dempster, and LaRoche being examples from this off-season in that range… though depends on the luxury tax implications of Upton).

          • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

            So if it were Williams, Sanchez, Logan and Montgomery for Upton do you pull the trigger?

            I’d probably do it but I’d be sweating 2 scenarios:

            A. Is Upton nothing more than a tease, an average RFer who had a couple of outlier seasons early on

            B. Will Sanchez become a perennial All Star catcher.

            Mike has compared this trade to Arod but to me, Arod was a far far easier trade to make since he was a sure thing coming off of back to back nearly 10 fWAR seasons and he was still young.

            • YanksFanInBeantown

              Honestly, I’d throw both Austin and Heathcott before I threw in Sanchez.

              • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

                I would too but I think Sanchez is the prize jewel of the system because of his position and I think that’s what Arizona will want.

                • YanksFanInBeantown

                  AZ also has Miguel Montero signed through 2017 so I’m hoping they decide that they’re set at catcher.

                  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

                    Good point. I’d rather hold onto Sanchez, Slade, Williams and Austin in that order.

            • Ted Nelson

              Plus Soriano was close to moving off 2B to a corner OF spot and not too far from getting expensive himself. And the Rangers were subsidizing it. Granted they got lucky the Rangers didn’t take Cano.

              Would come down to my due diligence on Upton, I guess. If I ended up siding with those who thought 6 fWAR is pretty realistic going foward, I’d do it. If I has some serious questions, which as a casual fan I do, then I probably wouldn’t.

              • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

                I agree, Upton’s inconsistency is a problem for me as I too don’t have the knowledge to determine whether he’s more likely to be a 6 WAR guy moving forward or the 2-3 WAR guy he was in 2010 and 2012.

            • Blake

              That’s a tough one….Id prefer not to trade Sanchez….but i kinda bet they can’t do a deal without him in it

  • Hoss

    Why would Kevin Towers put together a deal with Seattle knowing that Upton could veto it? Thought they could convince Justin that Seattle is a great place to play? Send a message, and to whom? The player, his agent, other clubs?

    KT is one of the best in the business, and I would not want to see the Yankees horse trade with him. As part of the FO for several years, he knows the Yankee prospects well. He knows Cashman’s MO. And he has a reason for wanting Upton gone. This is playing with fire with many of the Yankees’ top prospects, and I would pass. If it were Stanton, different story.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Why do people think Upton and Stanton are comparable?

      The cost for Stanton is so high it’s probably prohibitive to the Yankees.

      It’s not like we’re choosing Upton over Stanton, it’s not a straight up either-or for the same price.

      • Hoss

        Stanton only being used as example of someone worth going after with several top prospects. Upton not in that category in my opinion.

        • Raul Moandesi

          This.

          Prospects are opportunities. You only get one chance to trade them (see also Montero, Jesus).

          • jsbrendog

            cause montero is just straight up beast mode up in seatl….wait…

  • Jacob A.

    My brother is a big Braves fan and was touting a package of Julio Tehran (though he wanted to give up J.R. Graham instead of Tehran), Jordan Walden, Nick Ahmed, Louis Avilan for Upton. Do you think the Yanks could/would be inclined to match that good of a package?

    • MannyGeee

      nope. that being said, that seems a little lofty.

  • nsalem

    Why do the D-Backs seem to always have seem to have Upton (a 25 year old two time AS who was 4th in the MVP balloting two years ago). on the trading block. As Mike said players like this don’t become available often, why is he even available?

    • Ted Nelson

      It’s a good question, and obviously I don’t really know. A couple of guesses, though:

      -whatever has caused him to be an average starter two of the last three seasons… shoulder? work ethic? concentration?
      -attitude
      -possible return

      • Ted Nelson

        Also, maybe, RF being one of the easiest positions to fill in theory.

    • Mykey

      The Uptons don’t have the greatest locker room reputations. Probably not the whole picture there, but I’m sure it contributes to some degree.

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

      That fact is definitely cause for concern.

      It does seem a little odd, given the state of their team which isn’t that far off from contending, that they would be willing to trade Bauer and Upton , 2 players ready to contribute almost immediately.

    • Blake

      Nobody really knows? Why did they trade Bauer? My guess is Upton got mad when they shopped him 2 years ago and the relationship has just devolved over time……that and he’s starting to get expensive for the Dbacks…. He makes 15 million in 2014 and 2015 and that’s a lot for them

      • viridiana

        I would be leery of a guy whose team is virtually pushing him out the door. No way would I give up Sanchez or even any other two of the four Top 50 prospects we likely have. Position player prospects have higher success rate than pitchers. And position player prospects who are excellent defensively — like Williams and Heathcott — have higher success rates still. Days of trading four for one have to end for this franchise. Free agents are far more costly than they were when George ruled. Prospects will be harder to come by than they were when the Marianso and Canos could be plucked cheaply out of Lat. America.
        You simply can’t create three or four holes for one good player — who you’ll only have for three years anyway.

    • Jarrod

      Very valid question. Dealing with KT also makes me nervous, he known the Yanks inside out while Cashy doesn’t have the same knowledge of the DBacks.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        For what it’s worth, Towers has a pretty unimpressive track record (dating back to his days with the Padres) when it comes to position players (Adrian Gonzalez is the most recent glaring exception). His offenses tend to be below average.

        If you want pitching, he’s your guy.

        • Jarrod

          Fair call. And he got luck with A-Gon cause the Sox were head over heels in LOOOOOVVEEEE!!

        • blake

          Towers also tends to evaluate players differently than everyone else….the Bauer trade is one example of how he maybe valued a SS more than others have…..he’s sorta a go his own way guy so you really never know what he’d want in a trade. We know what he’d want from the Mariners….he may want something totally different from the Yanks. Wish the Yanks could have kept him around for the pitching part……

  • Jacob A.

    Agree, but less-so if it’s Graham instead of Tehran. Still better than what Seattle was going to give though.

  • Greg

    not going to trade for Upton or re-sign Grandy. Instead, we’re going to let Grandy go and hope that one of the three kids is ready. Only way we get under $189M.

  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    I never flinch at offering up prospects, they only one Cash has given up that has done anything is Austin Jackson. So let’s get this done.

    • Hoss

      Brian, Pick up on line 3 it’s your mistress.

    • jsbrendog

      yeah and they got curtis for ajax so not really a big deal. plus, it’s been long enough for me to not bring up mike lowell.

      • WhittakerWalt

        The worst part is they traded Lowell because everyone had a love affair with Scott Brosius, who was only good for one year in his entire career.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          Untrue! Brosius hit .304/.393/.516 with 22 homers for the 1995 Athletics. His best year with NYY was .300/.371/.472 with 19 homers.

          • Jarrod

            LOL, well played Mike.

          • WhittakerWalt

            I was mistaken. Damn. Anyway, what I really meant was Brosius only had the one good year for NY.

    • viridiana

      Tyler Clippard and Ian Kennedy beg to differ.

      • Jarrod

        The returns for both was rubbish too.

        That said, I bet that over time when prospects are traded for established players, the established players fair better – more often than not.

        Play the averages.

  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    Also, imagine if the Yanks hadn’t signed Ichiro. Imagine trading for Morse AND Upton? You’d be looking at(left to right) a Morse, Gardner, Upton outfield.

    Do I dare put a lineup together?

    1) Gardner, CF
    2) Jeter, SS
    3) Cano, 2B
    4) Teixiera, 1B
    5) Upton, RF
    6) Granderson, DH
    7) Morse, 3B
    8) Youk, 3B
    9) Who cares, C

    You could even, if you want speed at the bottom and Youk is hitting/getting on base, bat Jeter first and Youk 2nd.

    • Ted Nelson

      Morse has historically cancelled out most of his offensive value in the OF according to fangraphs.

    • Hoss

      Wow. Are you going to pull a Molina out of your ass to catch for us, too? Don’t you dare…

    • Gonzo

      You mean Morse DH and Grandy at LF, right?

      Imagine Russ at catcher too. I wonder how much that would hurt in 2014 and beyond to have that lineup.

      • Jacob The OG (formerly Jacob)

        Don’t make me cry

  • Blake

    I think Upton ultimately goes to the braves for something like : Teheran, Gattis, Venters, Ahmed

  • TheManchine

    Upton for Williams, Heathcott, Phelps & JOBA
    Granderson for Olt.
    Sign bullpen fodder.
    Done.

    • TheManchine

      Catcher? = Jesus Flores (28)

      Bullpen fodder =
      Kyle McClellan (29)
      Bobby Jenks (32)
      Francisco Rodriguez (31)
      Rich Hill (32)
      Dustin Moseley (31)
      Chris Young (34)

      • TheManchine

        SS – Jeter
        LF – Ichiro
        2B – Cano
        1B – Tex
        DH – Youk 1st half A-Rod 2nd half
        RF – Upton
        3B – Olt
        C – Flores
        CF – Gardner

    • Blake

      sounds great …but not sure if the Rangers and Dbacks would agree

      • TheManchine

        Prob take more for Upton, but I think Texas would do Olt for Grandy after offering Olt+ for Upton all winter and losing Hamilton & Napoli.

  • Pat D

    Well, this thread is a clusterfuck.

    Here are my thoughts on the matter:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOa1rW_AnBE

  • Captain’s Gift Basket

    Upton is good and all, but i would trade for Morse, for the DH apot, and keep the prospects.

    Warren + Logan for Morse could do it, and there you have a good bat for a decent line up for 2013.

    • blake

      I think the Nats would want more than a LH reliever and a fringy pitching prospect for Morse…..but if they’d do that deal I’d do that regardless of what they do with Upton

  • Rocky Colavito

    The D-Backs already have a surplus of out fielders, Mike offered up 3 of them, they also have Montero locked up until 2017, and do they really want to pick up Hill’s option in 2014? Gumbs or Adams, Nova / Phelps,Hensley, DePaula

  • birddog

    The D-Backs have a surplus of out fielders, they have Montero locked up until 2017, do they want to pick up Hill’s 2014 option? Gumbs/ Adams, Nova / Phelps, Hensley, DePaula for Upton

  • Jarrod

    Upton is still very young so the up and down season’s can be expected.

    Personally I would rather trade some MAYBE prospects for someone who at the very least is a decent hitting RFer and who could potentially be anything.

    In saying that, Yankees brass don’t listen to my opinion so I guess we wait and see.

  • Vinnie G

    I dont think Arizona wants an OF prospect.

    How about

    Seattle – Granderson, Tyler Austin, Rafeal Depaula, Nunez
    Arizona – Walker, Gary Sanchez, Franklin, Marshall, Gumbs
    Yanks – Upton, Montero, Brad Miller

    We would not resign Cano if we did this… lol we sold Monteros defense to Seattle why cant we sell Nunez too.

    We essentially trade Granderson, Austin, Depaula, Sanchez for Montero, Upton and a SS prospect (who i love)

    I know none of you Yank prospect loving mongoloids would do this but I would!

    • blake

      Thats a really big trade…..I think Arizona would do it…..they get a major haul…..think Seattle might do it too……but the Yanks are giving up a ton in that trade…….I don’t know if I’d do it or not but kudos for the creativity

    • Vinnie G

      Miguel Montero ++++++

  • BigBlueAL

    For whatever its worth Dave Cameron on Clubhouse Confidential today said that for the next 3 years Upton projects to be a 75-80 mil player.

  • thenamestsam

    Upton is an extremely difficult trade target to analyze in my opinion. So much of it is inevitably going to boil down to your judgements of his talent, which is inherently subjective. As the people who are down on him have repeatedly pointed out, his career so far is inconsistent. He hasn’t put up the kind of numbers on a year after year basis that you’d like from a guy who has the kind of price tag you’re seeing bandied about for him. If you give up 2 of the top 4 guys and a couple useful pieces for the current team, you’re almost certainly going to be overpaying based on what he has done over the last however many years.

    Because of that so much of it boils down to how much growth you think he has left. I look at him and see a guy who was on the path to superstardom and in the right situation can be again. #1 overall pick. Major league debut in his age 19 season. All-star season and almost 5 fWAR at age 21. Nearly the MVP at 23. He has had to deal with being on a mediocre team that’s tried to deal him constantly for years. No real veteran presence. Some nagging injuries. I can’t help but think that if you put him on the Yankees he’s going to be excited to come to work again, have him talk hitting with ARod, learn some professionalism from Jeter and Mo, some luck correction on the injuries and he fully blossoms into the monster that’s lurking there. And I fully acknowledge that all of the above is a subjective judgement that I can’t justify objectively in any way.

    But I think whether you pay the pricetag on Upton basically boils down to that. Given the price in prospects and the decent outfielder that dollar value would get you on the free agent market, you have to believe you’re getting back someone who’s going to be a star for 3 years. I personally see it, but it’s definitely not clear cut.

    • Jarrod

      I completely agree.

      Plus we need to consider the real possibility that none of those prospects work out which is quite often the case with prospects. Should they not work out, the price is very low.

    • TheManchine

      +1million

    • Ted Nelson

      It’s a best case scenario. Your projection shouldn’t be the best case scenario based on completely uncontrollable variables like health and personality. It should also consider that some similar talents have flamed out or at least not improved.

      That’s not to say you should project to the worst case, either, or ignore his age. But a realistic projection probably should factor in the likelihood of a range of possibilities.

  • OldYanksFan

    How do we get younger, and meet future budgets, if we trade away our best prospects everytime something shiney comes along?

    • TheManchine

      Upton is young and signed below market value. Plus producing at MLB while 10% of prospects can be counted on to do half of what Justin has so far.

    • YanksFanInBeantown

      Trading for 25 year olds with superstar talent and reasonable contracts helps them both get younger and meet future budgets.

      • ClusterDuck

        Sorry. Upton has yet to show super star talent.

        • YanksFanInBeantown

          And I’m sorry that you started following baseball in 2012.

          • ClusterDuck

            Your comment makes no sense and I’ve been following baseball since 1962.

            • Get Phelps Up

              You seem unaware that Upton showed super star talent in 2011 and 2009 and was above average in 2010 and 2012.

              • ClusterDuck

                I’m fully aware of what Upton’s stats were in those years.

                Those are not “superstar” stats.

                • Get Phelps Up

                  130 and 139 wRC+ aren’t “superstar” years?
                  On top of that he was 21 and 23 when he did it too.

                • YanksFanInBeantown

                  Yes, they are.

            • TheManchine

              It makes sense in that he showed super star talent in 2011.

              • Get Phelps Up

                And 2009.

    • Jarrod

      Trading Grandy for prospects while obtaining Upton and Morse (as the article suggests) would be getting younger would it not?

      It’s great to hang on to your prospects but if they don’t turn out the only thing they are is young, we need young AND productive.

    • Pistol Pete

      Because we want to win, now.

    • ClusterDuck

      Agree.

      And I would add that Upton is over valued by many, probably including Arizona.

  • http://Tab Ally

    Very interested in the Morse trade. Do not want Upton at the price of prospects plus his salary. He is highly overrated and suspect. His home/away splits are terrible. Stanton would be a different matter altogether. He is the real deal and would certainly trade value for him.

  • Frank

    JUpton’s name is bigger than his production most years but he is still only 25 and has put up solid to great numbers. No brainer to go all in on him with Arod, Jeter and really Tex too headed down hill and Cano and Grandy free agents after this season. It would also go a long way for the Yankees to go all in for 2013 and keep Grandy even after acquiring upton and then go 189MM crazy.

  • http://www.chemsimulations.com JohnHD

    Just a thought. Could this Upton trade be made easier with a 3 man trade. We could trade Granderson to Seattle or some other team and get the prospects Diamondbacks would (might) want and immediately move these prospects for Multi-year Upton. If the Yankees could chip in some money it would be even easier I guess. Is this feasible?

  • Josh

    So I guess this trade would make Gardner the full time CF? Morse to LF/DH, Upton to RF? Or Ichiro full-time in LF with Morse at DH? Lots of possibilities. Don’t see the Yanks getting both Morse and Upton though. That’d be a haul of a trade – but it’d be awesome.

  • papa

    I would like to thank everyone for the comments to this story they have followed the story line better than any I can remember and i have followed RAB for a long time even if I don’t comment. both sides have given ne food for thought and I can see It is not a cut and dry decision. I guess that is why Cash Man gets the big bucks. lol