It’s not everyday a 23-year-old with the type of talent Justin Upton has hits the market. So when he did, Brian Cashman did what most good general managers do, he checked in with the Diamondbacks to see how much he cost. Apparently the Yankees got sticker shock.
The Diamondbacks were approached by 15-16 teams at these Meetings about OF Justin Upton and, according to a person briefed on the subject, five showed a strong inclination to push talks further along. The Yankees were not one of those teams. They like their current outfield enough that they do not see the merit of surrendering the four-to-five big prospect pieces necessary to complete a deal.
Yesterday Sherman went further in depth:
It is tempting. Upton is just 23. He is locked into a reasonable contract (five years at $49.5 million left). But if the Yanks use prospect assets on Upton and there is a breakdown somewhere else would the Yanks beat themselves up for upgrading a relatively strong position and then not having the elements left to fix a weakness?
That’s what it’s about. The Yankees would love to have a player of Upton’s caliber on their team, but at this point they have three solid outfielders. Sure, they probably have the prospects to land Upton, but those prospects can probably serve the Yankees in better ways. Like in deals to shore up other areas of weakness or even developing them all the way to the Bronx.
Essentially, the Yankees outfield isn’t broke and doesn’t need fixing. If the Yankees can’t sign Cliff Lee maybe things change. But for right now they’re going to stand pat.