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Waiting on Justin Upton
Ah yes, the Major League Baseball offseason. The time of year where everyone, myself included, becomes an armchair general manager. Some of the suggested moves I have seen, such as signing CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira to nine-figure contracts, turn out to be brilliant. Others, like trading Alex Rodriguez to the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis after the 2006 season, are so far-fetched that Brian Cashman would be tempted to fire whoever came up with the idea.
With word that the Arizona Diamondbacks will listen to offers for stud RF Justin Upton, the armchair GMs have come out in droves over the last few days (just look through the comments of the Upton post Mike from River Ave. Blues wrote on Wednesday). Never mind that the Yankees aren’t likely to give in to Kevin Towers’ expected price of four prospects, as Ben Nicholson-Smith noted on MLB Trade Rumors. That definitely won’t stop us from concocting various packages that will get the outfielder to the Bronx. NOTE: Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, Brett Gardner and one more prospect would get it done, in my eyes, should the Yankees decide to join the pursuit.
So why do I not want Ca$hMoney to make the move for Upton this winter? Simple:
It isn’t necessary.
Yes, he is 23 years old. Yes, he is cost-controlled for the next five seasons. Yes, he is the five-tool player the Yankees could use as a cornerstone for the next decade. Yes, he would add another prominent African-American face to MLB’s biggest market (along with Sabathia and Curtis Granderson). None of these facts can simply be ignored.
But there’s more time on the Yankees side than people think. Nick Swisher hasn’t exactly given Cashman a valid reason for giving up on him yet. Also, unless the Yankees develop a blue-chipper in the minors, they will likely pursue Upton when he hits free agency after the 2015 season. He will be 28 and likely seek a $100M contract provided his production mirrors that from 2009. With Alex Rodriguez nearing the end of his $275M extension, the Norfolk, VA native would fit better then as A-Rod’s eventual replacement in the clean-up spot. Not to mention, the players believed to be involved in a prospective package figure to play significant roles in the near future.
So pump your brakes, Yankees fans. I know the idea of Justin Upton in pinstripes is salivating (yes, my mouth is watering at the idea as I write this). But there’s no need to rush into trading the farm for him.