Upton’s Days Numbered?

By Nicholas Valenzuela

With news surfacing Friday that Justin Upton was claimed on waivers by an unidentified team, rumors began flying around the baseball community as to the potential candidates who could have placed the claim on him.

Some of those rumors and concerns were identified when T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com confirmed that the Texas Rangers were one of the several clubs that placed a claim on Upton.

As I learned of this news, I began to ponder the potential trade scenarios that could play out involving the Rangers. First off, it’s no secret that Kevin Towers is always open to fielding offers on any of his players and gauging the interest of the market. This season has been a prime example of this philosophy, and the act of putting Upton on waivers could be a way for Towers to get a jump start on his offseason by gauging other team’s interest right before the offseason.

Learning that Texas was one of the teams that put a waiver claim on Upton, I was intrigued at the possibility of having them as a trade partner, particularly due to the wealth of talent that Arizona could receive in any potential trade. Texas could lose Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli as free agents in the offseason, and are looking to get younger with premier prospects like Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar at the cusp of breaking into the bigs.

It’s pretty clear that Arizona will be looking for a shortstop this offseason, especially after trading Stephen Drew to Oakland earlier in the month. Elvis Andrus will certainly be in any discussion for an Upton deal. This would be an ideal situation for Arizona this offseason, as Andrus would bring an All-Star talent with youth, speed, and postseason experience. He would be a mainstay at the lead off position, something the D-backs haven’t had since Tony Womack.

As far as this season goes, it looks like any potential move for Upton will wait till the offseason as confirmed by owner Ken Kendrick. It should be interesting to see what happens moving forward.