New York Yankees Trade Watch: Justin Upton

By Craig Williams

The New York Yankees have never been afraid to put on the full-court press to bring the game’s superstars to New York City.  Whether through a blockbuster trade or free agency, the New York Yankees’ history is littered with some of the best players to play Major League Baseball. This bold approach to team building has served them well over much of the past century and it is not likely to change drastically anytime soon. The newest high-profile name that should be fitted for New York Yankees pinstripes is Arizona Diamondbacks‘ outfielder Justin Upton.

For the second time in approximately 18 months, the Diamondbacks have expressed an openness to moving Upton in a trade. Of course “an openness to move” a player and actually having intentions of pulling the trigger on a deal are not the same. Whatever the true level of intent the Diamondbacks are exhibiting in this regard, the Yankees need to make a serious offer for the 24-year old right-fielder.

There are two clear reasons for the Yankees to aggressively pursue Upton. The obvious one is Upton’s superior raw talent. He has yet to show that he can consistently translate that talent into MVP-caliber production from year to year, but he’s still two-plus years from reaching his prime.  The second reason to aggressively pursue Upton is the hole that is soon to be created by Nick Swisher and his expiring contract. Swisher has been extremely productive as a member of the Yankees, but he’s going to be 32 heading into 2013. A three-year deal through his age-34 season wouldn’t be a terrible move, but anything beyond that would start to start to sound a bit foolish. Upton is owed $38.5 million through 2015 – a reasonable expectation of what the Yankees would have to pay Swisher if they decide to re-sign him.

These types of blockbuster trades usually occur in the offseason which would be good for the New York Yankees because they need some of their top prospects – particularly pitchers Manny Banuelos and Jose Campos – to get healthy. Who knows what a winning trade package would eventually look like, but Justin Upton is the type of talent worth putting a serious dent into the farm system for and the Yanks have enough ammo to bring him to the Bronx.

Want some more New York Yankees nuggets?  Follow me on Twitter @craigmwilliams.

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