If you’re suddenly getting a sense of deja vu here – don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
That’s right: for the third time over the last couple of seasons, the Arizona Diamondbacks are rumored to be trying to trade outfielder Justin Upton; that is, if you’re inclined to believe Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports anyway. According to Rosenthal’s source in the report, the team is currently engaged in “active discussions” involving Upton, hoping to move him to fill a Cliff Pennington-sized hole at shortstop.
Now, I’m not entirely sure what the Diamondbacks hope to gain by trading a potential all-world talent who has put up a pair of near-.900 OPS seasons before the age of 25, but I certainly hope that this serves as a cue for Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthpoulos to get working on the phones.
In a manner more serious than just doing due diligence, I mean. The Blue Jays (among a number of other teams, to be fair) have been linked to Upton before; if the Diamondbacks are indeed looking for a shortstop in return, do the Blue Jays have what it takes to make a deal happen?
Perhaps, but it won’t be a straight-forward affair. Toronto does have Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria at their disposal, but neither will fetch anything close to a controllable young star like Upton at this point. Might a package deal – involving at least Escobar, an outfielder (Moises Sierra, Jake Marisnick), and one of the Lansing trio (Aaron Sanchez, Justin Nicolino and Noah Syndergaard) entice Arizona to listen? Perhaps, but not likely. Even then, it’s difficult to see the Blue Jays wanting to part with starting pitching prospects, especially if when it’s one of the biggest holes on the big-league team.
If there is a path to Upton for the Blue Jays, Anthopoulos is going to have to get more creative than that. Maybe something like a three-way trade, where he targets a player that is coveted by the Diamondbacks.
Maybe something like this:
— April Whitzman (@Alleycat17) November 7, 2012
That strikes me as a more plausible scenario than a two-team trade, in any case. The Texas Rangers are looking for a catcher, and have extra depth in IF to make a deal happen, with Jurickson Profar potentially ready to take the reins at short next season. The Blue Jays have a potential catching dilemma to solve between JP Arencibia and Travis d’Arnaud, and could move either. The Diamondbacks are looking for an high-level shortstop – and Elvis Andrus fits the bill.
Of course, the Rangers could just go after Upton themselves, with the possibility Josh Hamilton‘s departure looming ever closer to fruition; but, like the Blue Jays, they have multiple holes to fill, and Toronto happens to have something that fills one of them.
The Blue Jays might be reluctant to give up top prospects after taking the time over the last few seasons to get their farm system right; but the fact is that prospects are currency for potential deals like this. At 25-years old, and signed on for three more years, Upton is an ideal fit for Toronto, and his supposed availability warrants a stay - at least temporarily - from the starting pitching problems that the team faces.