Yes, yes, yes… we’re doing the Justin Upton thing again.
At the time, it seemed like a reasonable ransom to pay for a young center fielder.
Vance Worley and Trevor May for Minnesota’s Ben Revere was not an outrageous price tag for a guy with tremendous defensive skills, an ability to hit for average, and a player who is under team control for a number of years.
The Phillies have their center fielder of the present and future, and that’s a good thing.
However, as rumors of Justin Upton‘s availability once again are making the rounds in the so-called rumor mill, the Phillies know they have no shot at landing the power-hitting right-handed outfielder. None at all.
They simply have nothing left to offer. The cupboard is bare, with two of their best trade pieces shuttled off to Minnesota for a player who likely will not be able to match the production Shane Victorino and all the other Phils’ center fielders gave them last season.
The Phils may have made a big mistake.
The team desperately needed a center fielder that played good defense and could lead off, of that there is no doubt. One option would have been to sign Michael Bourn. While I hadn’t been a big fan of signing him as a free agent, the fact that Bourn is still on the market likely means he could have been signed at a much cheaper price than originally believed.
Sure, the Phils would have had to give up their first round draft pick (#16 overall) as well as the money that goes along with signing that pick, and that is almost certainly why they did not seriously consider Bourn, or any of the other free agents tied to draft pick compensation.
And of course, there’s no way for Amaro to have known that Bourn would still be available at the beginning of January. But with the team looking woefully short on offense, in desperate need of more power in the outfield, making a serious push for a superstar talent like Upton would have been ideal.
But with the trade pieces Amaro has left, it seems impossible that a deal for Upton could ever take place.
Initially, Arizona wanted a top-flight, young shortstop in exchange for Upton and had talked to Texas about one of their young studs, Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar. But after acquiring Cincinnati prospect Didi Gregorius, ESPN’s Buster Olney notes that Arizona’s needs have changed.
Arizona very much open again to talking about trading Justin Upton w/other teams, and not surprisingly, their specific demands have changed.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 3, 2013
Obviously, they would still want one or two top-flight prospects in exchange for Justin Upton, and the Phils simply don’t have anything like that left in their minor league system. Could a deal of Jesse Biddle, Worley, May and Domonic Brown have been enough to land Upton?
We’ll never know.
There were rumors of a Cliff Lee-centered deal for Upton during the Winter Meetings that proved to be nothing more than fiction. And while it’s technically possible that a deal could be created around the Phils’ ace left-hander, the uncertainty around Roy Halladay‘s right shoulder makes trading Lee, even for a player as tremendous as Upton, a very scary proposition.
Plus, there’s that whole $25 million salary thing that might give the Diamondbacks pause.
If the Phillies still had Worley and May, it’s possible they could have put together a package that would at least have made Arizona GM Kevin Towers think for a few moments. Undoubtedly, there are teams, specifically Texas, that could offer more than the Phillies even if they still had Worley and May on the roster. But after the trade for Ben Revere, the Phillies really have nothing substantial to offer.
So, even though the D-Backs are rumored to be shopping their stud outfielder, don’t get your hopes up Phils fans. Amaro simply doesn’t have much of anything left with which to trade.
And who knows if Arizona is really serious about trading Upton in the first place. After all, we’ve been here before…
Oh my god the Diamondbacks are seeing what they could get for Justin Upton you guys wow I wonder who they won’t be trading with this time
— Justin Klugh (@TBOHblog) January 3, 2013
Why does it feel like we’re all Charlie Brown running full speed at a kneeling Lucy?
Still, there are those who think it could still happen. Only, it seems obvious the Phillies will not be involved.
You’re right guys, Justin Upton would have been perfect in red pinstripes.
If only the Phillies would stop crushing all of your dreams.