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.