Texas Rangers Must Go After Justin Upton

By Michael Terrill
Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers have missed out on free agent starter Zack Greinke and did not re-sign Josh Hamilton as the slugger elected to ink a five-year, $125 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. At this point, the Rangers have no choice but to go after a big name and no one would be better than Justin Upton.

Texas has had their eye on Upton for a while, just in case talks with Hamilton fell through. However, after acquiring shortstop Didi Gregorius from the Cincinnati Reds, it appears the Arizona Diamondbacks are content with keeping Upton on the team for 2013. The Diamondbacks believe they can be competitive in the National League West with the players they have signed in addition to their current roster, although that appears unlikely considering what the Los Angeles Dodgers have been able to accomplish in their front office over the past couple of months.

Unfortunately, the Rangers may have no choice but to make an offer that the Diamondbacks cannot refuse.

“They’ve talked about getting Justin Upton,” said Harold Reynolds of the MLB Network. “Now, it’s almost like you have to go get him…They’ve lost a lot.”

The only problem with Texas pursuing Upton is that Arizona is going to ask for a lot. In fact, they will ask for so much that the Rangers will have to part ways with some of their top prospects to get the deal done.

Upton may have had a down year statistically in 2012, but there is no reason those numbers will stay down. The 25-year-old has yet to enter his prime and has a bright future ahead of him. Not to mention, he is only owed $9.75 million next season of the $38.5 million remaining on his six-year contract that he signed in 2010. This is very reasonable for a player of his talent, which means the Diamondbacks are less likely to trade him.

In the Rangers’ eyes, Upton has proven power (31 home runs in 2011) which is something the team needs after losing several sluggers. On the other hand, Upton has been rather inconsistent with his numbers in recent years, which is a cause for concern.

If Texas wants to be competitive in the American League West, they have no choice but to go after someone like Upton. However, the deal could cost the organization much more than they will get in return.

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