What Would The Yankees Have To Give Up For Justin Upton?

I have to admit, I never wanted Justin Upton to be traded. When we hit the slow baseball months of the offseason, there’s nothing more fun than a Justin Upton rumor. Sometimes the rumors are about how the Diamondbacks are waiting for a big haul, sometimes we hear the team will most definitely trade him in the coming months, but at least we always end up hearing something. I don’t know if Arizona is playing some sort of game with his head, but I  like to imagine what it would be like to have Upton on the Yankees.

Upton will be just 25 years old in 2013. In his last four seasons, he’s accumulated fWARs of 4.8, 3.0, 6.4, and 2.5, this all before his “prime years.” He hasn’t been the most consistent young player, but he can hit for average and power, he can take walks, he has great range in the outfield, a strong arm, and he can steal bases. If there’s a player to dream on in the trade market, it’s Justin Upton.

The Diamondbacks and Mariners agreed on a trade yesterday that would send Upton to Seattle for Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, and Taijuan Walker. Although the deal was agreed upon by both teams, Upton invoked his limited no-trade clause and rejected the trade. (Perhaps it was karma for the shifty Cliff Lee business in 2010) Now we have an example of what it would realistically take to get Upton.

Though the Yankees have not been linked to him, they need a right-handed outfielder. Perhaps Upton is overkill, and maybe his $14 million salary doesn’t fit perfectly into the 2014 budget, but this is just for fun. Let’s come up with some comparable players to the Mariners’ package from yesterday.

Nick Franklin will be 22 years old next season. He was a 27th overall pick in 2009, and Baseball America’s #53 prospect in 2011. Since then, Franklin’s put together two questionable seasons. In 2011, he OPS’d .770 with just 7 homeruns across  High-A and Double-A. In 2012, he OPS’d .800 across Double-A and Triple-A. There’s some good upside there, especially for a shortstop or second baseman, but he’s still a risky player who should have crushed the PCL last season. Slade Heathcott would be a similar high-risk/high-reward player.

Charlie Furbush was never a top 100 prospect, but he always put up big strikeout numbers in the minors. In 2011, his first Major League season, he struggled as a starter. The Mariners moved him to the bullpen last season, and he put up 46.1 innings of great relief work. The only thing to worry about in his relief numbers is his low BABIP. A comparable player in the Yankees’ system would be David Phelps, who probably has a bit more value considering his ability to start.

Stephen Pryor is a reliever who saw his first Major League debut last season. He posted a 3.91 ERA across 23.0 innings, but that was behind a 5.27 FIP. Pryor was very successful in the minors as a reliever, and at just 23 years old, he has potential, assuming he can figure out his control issues. It’s hard to find a similar reliever in the Yankees system, as Mark Montgomery has much more success in the minors, and the rest of the relievers are in low levels. If the Diamondbacks are willing to take a risk, Nick Goody would be my offer. Though Goody has barely seen High-A, he has shown ridiculous strikeout numbers at the age of 20. He’ll take some time to develop, but he’s a breakout candidate in 2013.

Finally, Walker was a highly touted prospect coming into the 2012 season, but struggled in 2012. A drop off in strikeouts and an increase in hits caused his FIP to increase from 2.70 to 4.04 in the jump from Single-A to Double-A . Still at 20 years old, struggles are to be expected, but his stock is certainly down at the moment. One of Gary Sanchez or Mason Williams should be comparable, assuming the Diamondbacks are willing to take a position player.

My offer would be Sanchez, Heathcott, Phelps, and Goody. While it is a big chunk of the Yankees system, the team would get one of the best young players in baseball for the next three years. The system wouldn’t be totally destroyed either, as they’d keep Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, Manny Banuelos, and still have three first round draft picks in June. Of course, it has to work from the Diamondback’s perspective too. That team is loaded with outfielders, and they may not want to take Slade Heathcott. They also have catcher Miguel Montero signed for the long term, but at least Sanchez would give them the opportunity to trade away Montero when his average annual salary increases.

Trading for Upton doesn’t make the most sense for the Yankees, but it’s still fun to muse on. They’d be better off using their trade chips for cheaper players, but you won’t find me arguing if Upton becomes a target.

About Michael Eder

Mike is the co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money. Outside of blogging baseball, Mike is also a musician, a runner, and a beer lover.

12 thoughts on “What Would The Yankees Have To Give Up For Justin Upton?

  1. Honestly Nunez/Heathcott/Campos/Goody probably gets it done.
    I think the Yankees hesitation is probably due to his salary. If he was cost controlled they’d be more willing to break the prospect piggy bank for him.

        • You’d have to assume that the D-backs chose that package because it was the best one offered. It’s possible other teams can say, “wow, I didn’t realize I could get him for that,” and start making offers. That is doubtful though and the more likely scenario is that they will accept slightly less than what they got from the Mariners. IMO two of our top four prospects plus one major league ready back and starter, plus Nick Goody is too much. Change Williams/Sanchez or Heathcott out for someone else and I’m on board.

          • as the D’Backs KNEW that there would be no trade, they released this info precisely because the package was more than any other offer and they’re simply hoping some other team while decide to pay as if Upton’s performance is gonna get lots better, when the truth is that no one knows how he’s going to perform.

  2. Gee, let me look and see what this great 5 tool player did last year. Must have smoked 35 or 40 HRs. driven in (oops, sorry, RBIs don’t count) at least 100 runs. What’s this? A typo? The great Justin Upton had just 17 HRs? That’s less than Russell Martin hit. 63 EBIs? Isn’t that just a little more than half of what Curtis knocked in a couple of years ago? For this, people want to give up two of our top four prospects? No thanks.
    Has anyone stopped to consider why Atizona is trying to unload this guy? Shades of Pineda and other trades where Yankees overpay with cheap young talent for expensive vets, some of whom have for problems they don’t understand.

    Yes, I know Upton had a great season in 2011. But after last year, and already creeping up in salary, he is no sure thing. And I suspect there is alurking injury there. Has everyone forgotten Pineda? Has everyone forgotten how often Cashman has been taken in on non-salary dump trades.
    Yes, I’d like Upton. I’d trade either Mason Williams OR Slade Heathcott for him. I would not trade a young catcher with 30 HR promise. I would not trade two prime outfield prospects when the new CBA raises questions as to whether the Yankees will be able to find such young talent again. Trading is not the route to rebuilding this team.

  3. Yankees don’t match up well with Arizona’s needs. The Yankees might be able to match other packages in terms of equal talent, but I think they’d have to considerably beat those packages to get AZ’s attention because AZ’s needs don’t really match what NY can offer and AZ would prefer an equivalent talent package that better fits their needs to what NY might reasonably offer.

    Upton is young but isn’t cheap (even if he generates surplus value). I don’t see the Yankees being able to trade a lot of useful, young cost controlled players for one moderately expensive player and still make the $189 goal.

    This sort of trade might have made sense in the past but it doesn’t really make sense now given the organization’s goals.

  4. upton was born in va Ilive here myself Ibeen a yankee fan from 1957 and I do not he will fit in the yankee way he is stuck on him self. But what ever you do I will always be a yankee fan oh as much as I do not like the red socks way to go to get kevin yuck oh Iam sorry I can not say what I really think about him . Good luck in 2013.

  5. Not at all interested in this guy and don’t understand the fascination with him. His stats are underwhelming and his salary will be high. People seem to be confusing him with Giancarlo Stanton. HE is worth a bunch.

  6. A 38 year old Derek Jeter had a higher OPS than him last season. He didn’t hit for enough power last season. If we’re trading two of our top four prospects in addition to a potential starter who has already had major league success AND one of the top relievers in the minors for someone they ought to be better than Upton.

    That may be what it takes to get Upton, but I also think the author of this article is downplaying the talent of Mason Williams and Gary Sanchez. They are better prospects than Walker. They are Walker without the 2012 struggles.

  7. He’s no giancarlo!!! Stanton is the only right handed OF worth breaking this farm system up for. Yankees need to hold onto these guys I would offer Gardner,Nunez,Phelps,Hughes and any 1
    top yankee prospect not named banuelos,mason williams, or gary sanchez for j.Upton if they don’t like it then too bad walk away!!

  8. You just gave up 3 top prospects for an inconsistent player. It makes no sense. Now if we were talking about Stanton, the players you included make sense though I would be more inclined to trade Mason Williams than Sanchez.