Another Look at the Justin Upton/Mark Trumbo Comparison


Compare Justin Upton and Mark Trumbo all you want. Kevin Towers has made two pretty good deals to improve the D’backs. Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

In the days after the Arizona Diamondbacks made the trade for Mark Trumbo, there were some people that stated that the newest D’back looked much like an old one. That is, the powerful but strikeout prone Trumbo resembled Justin Upton whom the club traded away in another controversial deal in January of 2013. While Upton is certainly the better all around player, the question was why would the D’backs acquire a guy who fans quite a bit after declaring the previous season that they wanted to move away from that type of player? While General Manager Kevin Towers may have seemed to reverse course, maybe there was another ulterior motive behind the J-Up move that is only made clear when you compare the two salaries.

Upton is scheduled to make over $14 million dollars per season over the next two years. Trumbo is entering his first year of arbitration and probably could command a salary of $4 million for 2014.  Take a guess what the extra $10 million could be used for. Two words: Masahiro Tanaka. Or if Tanaka doesn’t work out, another free agent pitcher. If a search for a pitcher comes up empty, take that money and use it toward a possible trade for a high-priced player at the trade deadline. At the very least, $14 million dollars of Upton equals $4 million of Trumbo and $10 million of Martin Prado. Though maligned last year, trading Upton (and Chris Johnson) has worked out pretty well for the D’backs when you combine the two transactions. If you are keeping score at home, this is what was exchanged as a result of the two deals:

Arizona received: Prado, Trumbo, Randall Delgado, Nick Ahmed, Zeke Spruill, Brandon Drury, Brandon Jacobs and A.J. Schugel

Arizona gave up: Upton, Johnson, Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs

Upton and Johnson are quality Big Leaguers and I hate giving up Skaggs.  However, Prado and Trumbo are no slouches and Delgado had some terrific outings last season and is only 23. The rest of the players the D’backs received provide organizational depth with guys like Drury and Ahmed sure to be on someone’s roster, perhaps as early as this season. Maybe this isn’t how KT drew it up last year. However (and I know this is probably a minority opinion) he has done a pretty good job trying build an quality organization while staying competitive on the Major League level.

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