The Justin Upton Post | The Process Report

The Justin Upton Post

Obligatory: Everyone wants Justin Upton. Equally obligatory: Nobody wants to give up the package necessary to acquire Justin Upton.

Upton is a 23-year-old right fielder with a career .272/.352/.471 line in more than 1,700 plate appearances. That’s remarkable for a number of reasons, but consider that Upton is actually younger than Desmond Jennings, who has about 1,675 fewer plate appearances. There is a decent chance Upton develops into a perennial five-plus win player annually. The best part about that scenario is that he’s under contract for five more seasons with the next three seasons coming at the cost of a little under $20 million (the entire contract is worth $50 million total).

The Diamondbacks have every right to ask for the moon in exchange for Upton and that seems to be the requirement. There’s talk about the team wanting a few major league ready arms and a replacement outfielder … and that’s just to get your foot into the door. Boston is rumored to be heavily involved, which should surprise no one. The Rays are being mentioned as a favorite, although that seems to be based on the reality that the Rays have all the right weaponry to acquire Upton.

The Rays have enough pitching depth to make this happen. Losing Matt Moore (the best pitching prospect in the system, barring Jeremy Hellickson) would hurt, but the amount of depth allows them to make a deal for a superstar quality player with five years of control remaining. The Rays could throw in B.J. Upton (and some other prospects) and Arizona would probably have to consider it.

Such a deal is unlikely to happen. However, the Rays’ situation with the 2011 draft could stand to fuel the flames of temptation. Carl Crawford and Rafael Soriano are going to net two draft picks apiece (with the location of two of those picks to be determined), while Joaquin Benoit just netted them one. The Rays will not receive compensation for each of their departing free agents, as some are simply too risky to offer arbitration, but if Randy Choate and Carlos Pena bring back a pick, that leaves the Rays with something like 10 draft picks in the first three rounds.

Having that many lottery tickets in the first 100 (or so) picks could help to rebuild the system in a quick manner if the Rays executed a trade for Upton. There are other factors at play as well, like keeping a player of Upton’s caliber away from divisional foes. At the end of the day, Upton likely remains in Arizona. Nevertheless, the Rays are only doing their job to investigate the demands and ponder it.

One Comment

  1. jafrank wrote:

    JUp would certainly fit in with his bazillion strikeouts.

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