Upton Rumors Fly Again


I’ve long been a proponent of keeping Justin Upton long term.

He obviously struggled last season in comparison to the promise his 2011 season and his potential brought. However, he wasn’t as bad as many made him out to be and he was battling injuries throughout most of the season that may have zapped his huge power.

Image: Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE

His September, when he finally got healthy, was impressive. He hit .304 with six home runs and five doubles in 115 at bats. He also had his second-highest OBP of any month in 2012 with a .362 mark.

He was back to the Upton we all expected he would be the entire season. It was still a down year but September was a flash of the great Upton. The situation sort of is reminiscent of Matt Kemp’s 2010 season, like new Venom Strikes writer Bradley Truran wrote here.

Upton has long been rumored to be moved by the D-backs under the helm of Kevin Towers at GM. Seems like every offseason the D-backs are looking to trade him, and each time has resulted in Upton staying put. Towers has said that it would take an overwhelming deal for him to decide to move a guy with enormous talent like Upton.

But coming off a down year, which team management criticized Upton publicly for, it might be the time to trade Upton regardless if the offer is “overwhelming” or not. (Such as Venom Strikes’ writer Thomas Lynch wrote here.) FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal suggested that perhaps the Rangers would be a good fit for Upton and threw out both Elvis Andrus and uber-prospect Jurickson Profar as potential acquisitions for the D-backs in a trade.

The two were named because both players’ ideal position is at short stop and with Profar seemingly ready for the position, the Rangers have a decision to make – trade one or switch Profar’s position.

So, it’s entirely likely the two teams could pull off a deal with the D-backs having a need at short stop. However, Profar is dreaming for the D-backs. Profar is deemed as one of those immediate super star type of players that will take the league by storm and never look back. It’s highly unlikely the Rangers would part with him.

However, Andrus on the other hand, may be on the block to make room for Profar at his natural position.

It’s a tempting trade for both teams. Andrus is only 24 and has shown to be an elite defender up the middle. His offense doesn’t quite match his defensive ability but it’s progressing. Andrus has improved his OBP in every season he’s played, starting at .329 in 2009 and up to .349 in 2012.

But Andrus also has very little power, 14 total home runs in four seasons, and has not shown to be an elite stolen base thief. He has stolen 123 bases in four seasons but has also been caught 43 times.

Andrus is also only under team control for two more years and has Scott Boras – who is notorious for wanting to let his players test free agency – as his agent. Upton on the other hand, has three more years under his contract.

So, for the D-backs to trade for Andrus and make it valuable, they’ll have to have the understanding of a long-term deal with Andrus. Otherwise, they’re trading three years of Upton for two years of Andrus and there’s no way to recoup that value lost.

For the first time, I’m not against trading Upton, though I do think he will be every bit as good as he was advertised.

But if the deal includes Andrus and a long-term deal, I’m open to that idea. Or the D-backs can get Profar and I’d be ecstatic. Hey, I can dream too, right?