What Would You Give for Justin Upton?

Rumors began to swirl yesterday that Diamondbacks’ GM Kevin Towers was open to hearing offers for any of his players, which included 23-year-old Justin Upton. Today, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted that the Red Sox have already contacted the Diamondbacks about Upton. WEEI’s Rob Bradford then wrote that the rumors have “no legs.” Morosi followed up his tweet with Ken Rosenthal in this article. The Fox Sports article states,

“The Diamondbacks are listening to offers on Upton, sources say, but Towers would need a “big” return to move him. Upton, 23, is signed to a reasonable contract that will pay him $49.5 million through the 2015 season.”

“Arizona would likely want three players for Upton — a backend reliever, a starter and a bat. But it’s not clear if there is a good match on players between the clubs.”

Justin Upton is one of the best young talents in the game today. Even in a down year — partly due to a shoulder injury — he posted a .273/.356/.442 line with 17 home runs, 18 stolen bases and was worth 3.1 WAR. In 2009 Upton ranked 28th in all of baseball in RC27 (Runs Created per 27 outs). Upton has been worth 7.7 WAR so far in his young career.

Let’s make this an open discussion. What would you give up to get Upton if you were the Red Sox GM? Would any prospect remain “untouchable”? Would you even pursue a Justin Upton trade given the likely asking price?

Categories: Boston Red Sox Justin Upton

Charlie first started writing about baseball back in 2008 when he opened Fantasy Baseball 365. Since graduating college with a degree in English, he has spent time coaching baseball as well as working in several minor league front offices. He also writes for The Outside Corner and contributes to Project Prospect and ESPN's Sweet Spot. Writer from August 3, 2010 - May 6, 2012

17 Responses to “What Would You Give for Justin Upton?” Subscribe

  1. jeff November 16, 2010 at 4:18 PM #

    simply, i’d rather have a-gon…

  2. Gregg Pasternack November 16, 2010 at 4:34 PM #

    I would certainly pursue him like I would anybody of great value to see if you can get him, and he would provide tremndous value based on his unusual skill set and age. You cant give up the world for him, but a package built around Papelbon, Casey Kelly and maybe another prospect or two would seem reasonable. Paps is over-valued by some as a closer (and he’d likely do well in the NL) and Kelly is a pitching prospect and therefore a risk.

    • Eric November 17, 2010 at 4:41 AM #

      Why would Papelbon make any sense for the Diamondbacks? If they want to blow up their team starting with Upton and rebuild, then why on earth would they want a trade centered around a closer with one year left on his contract getting overpaid at 10 million plus?

  3. Sam1724 November 16, 2010 at 6:19 PM #

    they just need to trade 3 players marco scutaro because he had probably one of the most amounts of errors this season daisuke matzuzaka because he was either good or very very bad and the worst of their starters and he can be replace with doubront or if they sign another starter and that last dustin richardson and/or robert manuel

  4. Eric November 16, 2010 at 6:33 PM #

    Anything and everything would be on the table minus Bard if I were GM. Upton is only 23 and is signed CHEAP for 6 more years. I’d offer something along the lines of…


    He he’s a five tool player with the potential to be one of the consistent top 5 players in the MLB. He posted this as a 22 year old in ’09:

    .300/.366/.532 26 HR 30 2B 7 3B 20 SB and a 8.1 UZR/150 in the field. All that amounting to a 5.6 WAR (fangraphs) player as a 22 year old.

    He had a down year due to an injury and some inconsistency and STILL managed to post a 3.2 WAR as a 23 year old.

    He has the potential to be a superstar you build a team around, not just an All-Star.

    • hankaaron November 16, 2010 at 3:20 PM #

      As much as I would love to have A-Gon, Upton is a very exciting proposition. "He has the potential to be a superstar you build a team around, not just an All-Star." Not just that he has the potential, but he's already displayed his talents at the major league level. If the Padres would accept the above offer (Kelly, Kalish, Doubront) I think the Sox will pull the trigger. Of course, the Sox would love to figure out a way to get it done without Kelly, but even at that price it seems like a pretty good deal.

    • Sam1724 November 16, 2010 at 6:21 PM #

      kelly? yes kalish and doubront no doubront was good so good and kalish will have a better year if he can get a starting spot and he is already a solid defensive player

      • Eric November 17, 2010 at 4:39 AM #

        Sorry but it's gonna cost a lot more than just Kelly. And you don't deem your left handed #6 pitcher and an outfield prospect as untouchable when discussing someone as good as Upton. He's under team control for 6 years, all in his prime.

  5. Dan November 16, 2010 at 7:23 PM #

    Id say any 3 or 4 prospects we have. Kelly could be good but hes not a power arm and seems far from cant miss status. If it took Bard to get the deal done I would include him as well although probably not him and Kelly together. It doesnt seem like we have the hitting prospects to pull this off tho. Kalish could be good as could Lars and Rizzo, but theyre not the kind of guys I'd want in exchange for someone as good as Upton. Would getting him mean the end for Ellsbury? would Arizona want him?

  6. Mr Punch November 16, 2010 at 9:07 PM #

    Unlike Gonzalez, this would be a real trade – i.e., for a player his current team has the option of keeping. And since AZ presumably won’t take on salary, that would mean basically giving them the farm system. Upton was the #1 pick and he’s really good – that’s going to cost. Since the Sox aren’t all that concerned about getting a low-salary player, I can’t imagine this trade could work unless AZ really likes some specific Sox assets.

  7. cadel November 17, 2010 at 3:22 PM #

    give them dubront, scutaro (lowrie or possibly nishioka would take over at SS), and maybe reddick. but i imagine knowing theo, he will add an overhyped low ceiling type who will make the package 4 players when its really just 3.

    and bard and kelly are off the table.

  8. Grant November 17, 2010 at 10:31 PM #

    I think alot of folks posting on here need to be a little more realistic, or in some cases, a lot more realistic. Reddick, Scutaro, Dice-K? These aren't assets with any real value. When a budding superstar (and yes, heavy emphasis on budding) comes available, you don't put relievers on the untouchable list. Outside of Lester and Buchholz, the Sox should (and most likely are) open to anyone. Upton's value to the Sox would be greater than A-Gon's, and the trade package would reflect that. We still have the ability to sign him next year, or even trade for him this summer (that would be possible even with the Upton trade). Too make a long story short (too late), there is no "untouchable list" for Upton.

  9. Bob November 18, 2010 at 11:13 AM #

    People need to get realistic if they want Upton it's going to cost a lot. He's a top tier 23-year old right fielder, which makes him more valuable than A-Gon (better position premium, much younger). I'd say Kelly is a must and I think you'd probably have to include Rizzo too. I would offer Kelly, Rizzo, and either Iglesias or Pimentel depending if they want a pitcher or a bat. That should get the D'Backs interest and although Theo loves holding on to his prospects I think Upton is the one player he would raid the farm for. That said, there's no way he's actually on the market, it would be idiotic for Towers to trade a major league established 23 year old, more likely Mark Reynolds goes on the block.

  10. Jon November 20, 2010 at 11:37 AM #

    Bard, Ellsbury, Matszusaka. Dice-K becomes a solid #3 starter pitching in the NL West. Starting CF, Closer and #3 starter is a pretty good haul for Upton. Add a prospect like Lars Anderson to increase the numbers moving in that direction.

  11. jakehub November 17, 2010 at 9:04 AM #

    The real decision is which player do you want to give up your best combo players(prospects/major league players) for;A.Gonzales or J.Upton.Can you get both players realistically while stripping all your future,cheaper options?

  12. Gerry November 17, 2010 at 11:19 AM #

    There's the rub, I think. If Upton takes 3 top players/prospects, what will be left for AGon? Not enough.

    Therefore it seems Theo's choice will be either Upton & Beltre (or CC & Beltre) leaving Youk at 1b . . . or AGon & one of Victor/Crawford/Werth, moving Youk to 3b. With either option, Ells remains in CF and Lowrie could wind up at SS. Also, these options offer so much offense that having Salty/Tek behind the plate or Cam in LF, as appropriate, would be just fine. Nice choices.


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