Recent July 31st trade deadlines have been quiet around these parts. Aside from the Yankees attempt at acquiring Cliff Lee back in 2010 very little has happened and even then nothing happened. It seems likely that it will be that way again this season, but there is one name out there that is very intriguing - outfielder Justin Upton.
The Diamondbacks have been willing to listen to offers ever since Brian Cashman’s friend and former Yankees employee Kevin Towers took over the GM job over there, but this time it seems a bit more serious. Towers has already let it be known that his young outfielder is one again available and has even informed Upton himself that he might be traded.
The reason the Yankees might like him is because he’s young, still just 24, he’s talented, finished 4th in MVP voting in 2011, and he’s cheap, he’ll count as an $8.54 million hit toward the luxury tax in 2014 and 2015. The Yankees can figure out a way to get him playing time this year and slide him in as Nick Swisher‘s replacement next year.
So far there hasn’t been much connecting him and the D-Backs to the Yankees, but it is worth noting that they did have scouts in Arizona over the weekend, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.
Upton does have a limited no-trade clause which includes four teams and the Yankees are one of them. That isn’t necessarily a deal breaker though as it is quite common for players to put the Yankees on that list in an attempt to gain leverage in a deal. In this case it might be a possible play for an extension by Upton or it could simply have been something his agent put in there which might not mean a whole lot. Either way, it doesn’t necessarily kill a potential deal.
What could kill a possible deal from happening is the cost. Upton is certainly not having an amazing year this season, hitting just .264/.347/.388 in 82 games, but that doesn’t mean he will come cheap. The same reason the Yankees like him, young, cheap, and talented, is the same reason half the ball clubs in baseball like him. With more parity than ever in baseball there will be no shortage of buyers over the next two weeks and Upton will be one of the biggest in demand.
So while Upton would help the Yankees reach their goal of a $189 million payroll by 2014, he would also cost a ton in prospects which will ultimately hurt their chances at saving money long-term. We’re not even talking role players either as any potential trade will likely start with Gary Sanchez or Mason Williams, two top prospects that currently profile as every day starters at key positions.
Intriguing is a good word, but it doesn’t seem like the Yankees are seriously considering trading for Upton. Check back here often over the next couple of weeks to see if anything changes.
Upton is a career .275/.356/.475 hitter with 72 stolen bases in 106 attempts and has a 30 Total Zone Rating in parts of six seasons in the majors. He is in the middle of a six-year, $51.25 million deal that expires after the 2015 season.