Yankees trade deadline targets: Justin Upton 15


Teams, people, or organizations will negotiate based on the idea that they will come out better. It is a simple fact; if you don’t believe you’ll benefit from a negotiation or trade, you won’t make the deal. The Yankees can benefit in both the short term but more so in the long term if they were to acquire Justin Upton.

Upton, a 24-year-old outfielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks, has been a two time All-Star, a Silver Slugger, and finished fourth in MVP voting in 2011. In short, the kid can play and there’s been trade rumors involving a move.

But what would it take for him to be a Yankee? Is he even worth trading for? Would he be a good fit? Would we have to unload a current contract? Would we have to give up major prospects? Onward!

Let’s get this out of the way; Upton is an upgrade over anything we have in the minors. It’s pretty blatant. His career numbers in the big leagues are great. He was one of the top NL outfielders last year. Do you think anyone in the Yankee farm system, if they were called up next year could perform as well as Upton did in his first four full seasons (mind you he hit 79 HRs and swiped 60 bases)? No and hell no.

See the problem with farm talent is that it’s very difficult to project at the Major League level unless it’s the five tool guys like a Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, or Upton because certain players adapt and improve their skills while others don’t. His career slash line is, and remember he’s only 24, .276/.357/.476. He hit this well in a paltry Diamondback lineup, so moving into a stronger lineup would definitely bode well for him. Upton is definitely a youthful upgrade and has proven his worth.

We’ll use the eyeball test in some comparisons for current players who he would replace if a trade were reached. He is better and offers more than any of the bench guys. He offers more than a 33-year-old Nick Swisher moving forward, especially contractually. So now that we’ve somewhat analyzed his worth, let’s look at whether he’d be a good fit.

A simple answer to the question of whether he’s a good fit is yes but it’s never that simple. It is up to the teams involved to get it done. He has a no-trade clause to the Yankees but he’s since said he’s willing to waive it. He plays the game hard and has a strong desire to win which shows that he’d fit in New York. He doesn’t seem to let “pressure” get to him and honestly that’s what it takes. But what would the Yankees have to give up to sign him?

I don’t know what Kevin Towers and the Diamondbacks would want from the Yankees and I can only speculate. We have great talent in the minors and in my opinion, getting rid of three or so guys for a proven 24-year-old is something you just do. Performance speaks louder than speculation and projections. We have pieces in the system in an abundance of pitching prospects and some talented outfielders like Mason Williams and Tyler Austin to offer.

The issue is what the Diamonbacks want for a guy like Upton and it seems they want Major League ready talent. The other thing that the Yankees would have to give up to acquire Upton would be seen in his contact which is very manageable. He is currently in the midst of a 6-year, $51.25 million deal that expires after the 2015 season. Only $8.54 of it will count against the luxury tax each year which would assist the team in reaching a payroll of $189 million by 2014. In 2013 he’s set to make $9.75, in 2014: $14.25 million, and in 2015, $14.5 million.

The Yankees have a few high level minor league pieces to offer the Diamondbacks and the ability to provide Upton with a chance for a World Series Ring and a payday which seems like a good fit for both parties. There are options, albeit feasible ones, to bring in a premiere player and prepare for the future. This would be a nice shakeup so I’m left wondering what Cashman will do. Either way, July 31st is within reach and Justin Upton could be a Yankee at that point. My fingers are crossed and I hope yours are too.


15 thoughts on “Yankees trade deadline targets: Justin Upton

  • uyf1950

    I'd do it in a heartbeat. Like you said contractually the Yankees benefit from just taking on Upton and Swisher moving on. Although if I'm the Yankees I consider making Swisher a qualifying offer he'd in all likelihood turn it down for a more lucrative multi-year deal with another team and the Yankees get the draft pick. It seems like a win, win.

  • walter

    Simplistic analysis.
    If this were basketball, by all means go for the single player who can most influence results. But baseball rquires 20 or 25 contributors. And more than ever, those guys will be hard to come by for a team like the Yankees, which has been penalized in the new CBA with prohibitive constraints on finding young talent.
    Giving up four guys who will cost almost nothing for the next three or four years to get one guy that some other team mysteriously wants to unload is highly risky. And Upton's performance this year is simply ordinary. Something may well be going on — something Arizona knows and the Yankees don't.

  • walter

    Not in my opinion.
    I would only give one of these four: Williams, Sanchez, Banuelos, Austin.
    However, I would be willing to give Hughes (not Nova), given his approaching free agency. Those would be the center-pieces.
    Other guys that might have value whom I might include: Adams, Gumbs (reluctantly), Warren, Marshall, Turley. There are other guys I would hold out but no point in getting too specific since Towers hasn't actually called me yet.

  • Fred

    This guy is a proven thing. a young, MVP caliber all around outfielder. He's going to fetch significantly more than Granderson, who we shipped out Kennedy, Jackson and Coke for.

    I'd say two of our best prospects, hypothetically Banuelos and Williams, with the addition of 1 or 2 of the borderline guys that Walter listed like Marshall or Turley. Its a hefty price to pay, but we have pretty good depth in the farm right now, and a complete logjam of pitching prospects at the lower end of the system. And in return you get a guy with the potential to drastically improve the salary situation heading into the 2014 season while providing stellar play. The only players I'd really shy away from including are Nova and Phelps, as young successful major league starters are just too valuable a commodity.

    Its something the Yankees have to seriously consider if Upton is being shopped for a reasonable price. He would contribute massively this year, and would be a much needed piece heading forward into the Jeter/Rodriguez senior citizen years.

  • Billy Ball

    Has anyone really looked at Upton's stats, he had one very good year and that does not make him a budding superstar especially after looking at his stats this year. I know he is young but No team trades away a young cost controlled franchise player without a good reason. I think Cash and the Diamondback GM are close and I don't think Cash would trade the farm for this guy. Earlier I posted this response to the editor of this website.

    "Just wish the fantasy gms would stop imagining trades and gutting the farm when in fact they have no true idea how the Yanks perceive that prospect they are looking trade. Many on this site are willing to trade our best left handed pitching prospect in banuelos, our best outfielder prospect in mason Williams, our best pure hitter whom happens play elite position in Gary Sanchez, and our only real ss replacement at this time in Eduardo Nunez whom despite his value decreasing if you left him at ss he can possibly give you 30-45 sb with 240 avg and 10 hr a yr while flashing plus arm. Now why would you trade all that plus a David phelps whom has talent to be back end starter today for a guy in Justin upton who quite honestly puts up nick swisher stats at best with more sb which is around 15 to 20 sb a year? Don’t you understand it is easier to replace corner outfield production than any other spot on team? Wake up and stop playing gm and trust the cash with the moves that make sense now and for the future. Also consider why would Arizona look to trade a 24 yo talent such as uptons? Injury concerns? Attitude concerns?"

    We really need to look at Upton's Stats year by year and than discuss how he is head and toes above the majority of corner outfielders in the league? The article states he has five tools but he averages 15 stolen bases a year which is not all wordily. His defense is avg at best and some say below avg. He has power but you have too wonder if the shoulder is a real concern and will continue to be a concern and you need look no further than this years numbers. I would not sacrifice our farm or even two top prospects and Philip Hughes for this player. Corner outfielders are the easiest position to fill so more research needs to be done before giving up the farm, this is why we are not the GM!

  • Robby Evans

    Upton's no trade clause in his contract keeps him from going to big market teams, like the yankees. Not happening.

  • Mike Sommer

    I'd just like to remind people that a lot of the parks that Upton plays in frequently (Arizona, SD, Dodger Stadium, Pac Bell in his own division) are not known as hitter's ballparks. Coming to the AL East, and playing in hitter's ballparks like Camden Yards, Fenway, the Rogers Centre… may help him.

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