Trade focus shifts to outfield

Upton, however, is another matter entirely. He’s not having the best of seasons either, with a 92 wRC+ and a slash line of .264/.347/.388, but he’s also just 24 years old (he turns 25 on August 25th), and had an MVP caliber last season and a couple of 3+ fWAR seasons in 2009 and 2010. Sweetening the pot, he’s under contract through 2015. In other words, trading for Upton wouldn’t be about acquiring a short term rental, but about acquiring a very talented young player with elite potential for multiple seasons at the least. That would be a good move if the Yankees could pull it off but, of course, moves like that don’t come cheaply.

So what would it cost to get Upton? The Diamondbacks won the A.L. West last season and still have a solid MLB core, so presumably they’re going to want pieces that can help them now, which the Yankees are short on. On the other hand, Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal report that the Diamondbacks would like to get a “long term” option at shortstop or third base, which could put Eduardo Nunez on the table if Arizona general manager and former Yankees’ front office member Kevin Towers is a believer in Nunez’s ability. A package of Nunez, Tyler Austin or Gary Sanchez, and a few mid-tier prospects from the upper reaches of the system would make plenty of sense from the Yankees’ perspective, but it’s difficult to tell if that would get it done from the perspective of the Diamondbacks’.

On the other hand, Upton also has a limited no-trade clause that includes the ability to block a trade to the Yankees, so this could all be a moot point anyway. It’s not totally uncommon for players to include the Yankees on those lists in the hopes of being able to wrangle some financial concessions out of the Bombers in exchange for waiving the clause, but if Upton wants to demand a new contract in addition to the price in prospects it would take to acquire him at this point in time, it’s not at all hard to see Brian Cashman balkinng at the move.

In any case, this is all very much a first-world-problems type of discussion. The Yankees have two well above average outfielders in center and rights fields at the moment, and will be adding an above average left fielder if and when Gardner returns. In the meantime, their replacement players have been performing admirably, and the Yankees have the best record in baseball. If they do make a deal, it will be done from a position of strength, which is always a great place to be.

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

7 thoughts on “Trade focus shifts to outfield

  1. Very interesting. I agree that Victorino makes little sense but Upton certainly would be an upgrade even if we have been getting decent production out of Ibanez/Jones/Nix. Now if only Upton could catch…

  2. Seems like you're willing to give up some valuable chips to get Upton. Nunez is understandable, but Austin and Sanchez are at the very top of the list for Yankee prospects and could probably get something better in return.

    • Better than a 24 year old with Hall of Fame potential, and one MVP caliber season and another 4.8 fWAR season under his belt already who's under contract for an additional three seasons? Who is that, exactly?

    • Neither Austin nor Sanchez (or Williams) are still far from making an impact in the big leagues, if ever. An individual prospect that just moved up to A+ doesn't carry much weight in a trade.

  3. I think any move for Upton would be as much to buy low on Swisher's replacement as it would be to help this year. He would be an interesting guy to have.

  4. Arizona signed Miguel Montero to a new deal this year (albeit after inquiring about Austin Romine?). Probably would not want Sanchez as much as the other pieces.

    Nunez almost has to be an upgrade over the Bloomquist/McDonald/Ransom/Blum combo to which they've given time.

    • I'd imagine Williams would be the first choice of just about everyone, but if someone *really* like Sanchez's bat, they'd take him and sort the position out later. Remember, he just cracked A+, so he's a couple of years away from the bigs at least. Things can change quickly in that span of time.