My take on a Justin Upton trade

The biggest rumor swirling around baseball these days is a potential Justin Upton trade. At first it seemed like Arizona was just toying around, but apparently they are serious and a few other teams want to get serious with Arizona. A potential trade of this magnitude has probably never occurred before in baseball  history.

I mean, we have a 23 year old All-Star, with a VERY FAVORABLE contract for the next five seasons, who has HALL OF FAME potential. A player like that isn’t put on the trade market very often. As Dave Cameron wrote back in July, “he’s not a star yet, but not only could he become one, he could be the best player in baseball”. I’d have to agree.

So lets do some calculations!

So for those keeping score, that’s a net value of $104.25mil! No joke. And if you ask me, his WAR estimates might even be a little too conservative. The scary part is that by age 27, he should just be entering his best seasons.

Using Victor Wang’s prospect value chart, we know that a top ten hitting prospect is worth $36.5mil, a top 11-25 hitter is worth $25.1mil, and a top level pitcher is worth about $15mil. So yeah, trading for Upton means trading away any prospect of value in your system.

As a Yankees fan, a trade is intriguing. We’d be getting a potential Hall of Fame, at the ripe age of 23, and chances are he’d be a Yankee for life well beyond 2015. As the Yankees deal with lofty contracts belonging Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, among others, Upton will be relatively cheap. Especially from 2011-2013. Swisher will be gone after 2011 or 2012 anyway, with no internal replacement in sight. Trading for Upton would allow New York to trade Swisher, who could fetch a couple decent prospects which would somewhat “re-stock” the system after a possible Upton trade. But who would the Yankees give up?

The first name to pop up is obviously Jesus Montero. He is the number one positional prospect in baseball and many project his bat to play like Frank Thomas or Manny Ramirez as a catcher, if he can stick there. Would I give up him? Yes, but it would hurt. It would hurt since he is so close to joining the team after so many years of being awesome the minors. I’ve been waiting forever for him to debut. But he is still just potential. He could flop and fail. Upton has succeeded in the ML already and has Hall of Fame potential, as I’ve mentioned. Give me the sure thing. Especially since he would then probably remain a Yankee well past 2015 when his current deal is up.

Who else would the Yankees have to give up? I’d imagine some names would be Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman, Manny Banuelos, Hector Noesi, and Ivan Nova. Outside Banuelos, I would give all of them up. Dellin could be a beast, but he does have a poor record of staying healthy and I don’t want to miss out on Upton because of the potential of a health-risk prospect. Despite giving up so many good pitching prospects, the Yankees would still have solid arms in Adam Warren, Jose Ramires, and Graham Stoneburner. Plus, we would still have Austin Romine, who I liken to Kurt Suzuki, and Gary Sanchez. Sanchez may be years away, but he is Montero 2.0 and could make us forget Jesus Montero, even if Montero goes onto a stellar career himself.

So if I’m the Yankees, I would seriously look into Justin Upton. What other team should get in on Upton? The Washington Nationals.

It’s time for winning baseball to return to the nation’s capital. They have a growing core in Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman, and Bryce Harper. Trading for Justin Upton would give the team a dynamic group of superstars to build around. Zimmerman is arguably the best third baseman in the game. Upton and Strasburg could become the best in the game at what they do. Many think Harper is a prodigy. Having all four superstars on one team would be insane. The Miami Heat of baseball. Plus, they have the pieces to get a deal done. Derek Norris, Jordan Zimmerman, Ross Detwiler, Michael Burgess, Ian Desmond, Drew Storen, and so on. Let Arizona pick from anybody in the organization besides their current big three. I really hope Washington is one of the teams getting serious.

The final question is why is Arizona trading Upton? To be honest, I don’t know. He is the face of franchise and while he would bring back a lot of great prospect, why not just take the production he will give you for a well below market value contract? It’s not like Arizona is a shitty team. In the NL West they could easily compete sometime soon. Moreover, while he should fetch the equivalent of $100mil in value, I don’t think Arizona will get that much in actuality, so I think they will be ripped off. I would keep him, but I don’t know what direction Ken Towers want to take the franchise. So we’ll see how this plays out.

It should be fun.

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