Monday, December 8, 2014

Should The Yankees Trade For Justin Upton?

The Braves are willing to trade away Justin Upton, and it's been said that the Royals, Rangers, Padres, and Indians are interested. I can't help but ask "why aren't the Yankees?"

While the starting rotation, bullpen, and infield still have questions, the outfield seems to be settled. We have Carlos Beltran in right field, Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, Brett Gardner in left field, and the team recently signed Chris Young to be their 4th outfielder. So why waste time on another outfielder when those other questions are more pressing?

Looking at the proposed lineup, as the team is currently built, allows you to see a few problems...

1. Brett Gardner - while it would be great to see his OBP get back up to .345 or higher, and have him run like he did in 2011, this looks to be his spot for 2015.
2. Martin Prado - With a .289/.339/.423 batting line the past three years, with a low strikeout rate, he's a good fit here.
3. Jacoby Ellsbury - better suited as the lead-off man, but will again be needed to fill this spot in the lineup
4. Carlos Beltran - Overall he's not a great hitter, but he does provide some pop.
5. Brian McCann - he led the team in home runs last season, but thanks to a low batting average and on-base percentage the past few years I see him down here.
6. Mark Teixeira - He can still hit around 25 home runs. Other than that? Ugh.
7. Alex Rodriguez - There's a really good chance he'll end up hitting higher in the lineup, but to start the year off I wouldn't place him any higher.
8. Didi Gregorius - There's every chance that he's the least productive hitter on the Yankees, and the 8-hole seems to be the place to hide that guy.
9. Rob Refsnyder/Jose Pirela - if Pirela is the starting 2B for the Yankees, then this is his spot thanks to his running ability, and hitting in front of Garder. If the starter is Refsnyder, then he and Gregorius could swap lineup spots.

The first problem is that the team has two lead-off hitters... Ellsbury and Gardner.

Gardner can still run pretty well, but he doesn't really have the bat to hit anywhere else in the top of the lineup. But Brett is a good hitter, and certainly warrants a spot high in the order.

Meanwhile, Ellsbury has hit 1st the vast majority of his career, and a .290 batting average there vs. .277 while hitting 3rd, tells me he should be put back there.  Not to mention a .432 slugging percentage while leading off versus .388 batting 3rd.

The second problem is a weak "heart" of the order. Carlos Beltran has hit .269 over the last three years, Brian McCann has hit .238 during that same time span, and Mark Teixeira has been even worse at .229. So while you may get as many as 90 home runs out of those three, other than that you can't expect much.

The third problem is that the Yankees would actually be lucky to get those "90 home runs" out of the heart or the order. Chances are you're actually looking at around 75 homers, which is kind of sad for a team nicknamed the "Bronx Bombers".

We've gone from this...

To this...

Well, there's one man that we know is available (either by trade or free agency) that could help fix those issues... Justin Upton.

While Justin is not going to hit .300, his batting average the previous few years was .271, which would have been tied with Ellsbury for the best batting average on the Yankees last season (not counting Ichiro, as he's no longer a Yankee anyway).

And Upton's 29 home runs last season would have been the highest total for the Yankees in 2014.

I should also note that Upton's contract only has one more year remaining on it. However, trading for him before the season allows the Yankees to give him a qualifying offer and receive a draft pick should he sign elsewhere. But at only 27 years old, I can see the Yankees using the 2015 season as an audition for re-signing him.

I don't want you to think Justin Upton's presence would be great all-around. While the Yankees would be more than happy to see his bat join the team, his glove is definitely not Gold Glove material. In over 2100 innings in left field, between last season and 2013, his UZR/150 is a below average -5.8. In right field it's not a whole lot better, as a 1.5 UZR/150 in over 6500 innings tells me he's pretty much average there.

So Justin Upton isn't a perfect fit, but he'd be a nice upgrade for the lineup, and wouldn't hurt much in the field. So what would it take to acquire him?

Well, the Braves are apparently looking to add a second baseman and/or starting pitcher. And after finishing below .500 last season, I'm willing to bet they aren't going to demand players in return that would immediately thrust them into contention. I mean, I don't think they expect to get somebody like Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez in exchange for Upton.

Also, while they didn't mention getting an outfielder in return, I can't imagine they wouldn't want one. As of right now, not including Justin, the Braves would have BJ Upton, Zoilo Almonte, and Joe Terdoslavich in the outfield. That is hardly an outfield that screams "awesome'. And, for the record, the Braves best outfield prospect is only 18 years old.

So here's my trade proposal. Now, like most trade proposals discussed on the internet, it probably sucks. But I believe it's a fine starting point to discuss the possibility of acquiring Mr. Justin Upton.

Brett Gardner, Rob Refsnyder, and David Phelps for Justin Upton

Okay, that's probably too much for Upton, so Atlanta would have to kick in something else. Like... say... money that can be used for David Robertson and/or Max Scherzer?

What do you think?


  1. Take Refsnyder out and add in Pirela. Take Phelps out and add a young guy like Manny Banuelos and Bryan Mitchell and you have a deal. That's a ton for Upton (what you had posted).

  2. JUSTIN UPTON.....Gardner - Refsnyder / Pirela - Phelps ? For a guy that has one year left
    on a contract ? And, if he wants to....can walk away after next season !

    Did happy hour start early ? Are you two......nuts ?

  3. Yep.... CRAZY!

    But I did say it was probably a lot, and Atlanta could kick in money that would help with signing Scherzer.

  4. Brett and that's it, they need an outfielder! They need a starting pitcher also, but if we give up Brett we better dump Young and ad Pirela to the line-up for the later innings and backing up the outfield.
    Brett is rated higher than Justin, so why give up a better player (for other teams) just for one year of Justin?
    We don't need Brett as much as a few other teams do, why not get more than one (one year) player for a top flight CF player named Brett Gardner!
    Remember, Brett was playing hurt the last few weeks, until they shut him down. Let me reiterate what I have been saying for three years now, "he will come out of the chute running 2015! my reasoning has been written many times, so no since in doing so again!
    If I give up Brett it would be in conjunction with a big deal and more players involved.

  5. STUNNING !...Mr.K. Reed :
    On the subject of Brett Gardner, and team enhancement:
    We actually have agreed on something. It's been years. I feel faint.

    Your last walk about / walk around has done wonders for you.

    1. Patrick, you have been misunderstanding me for years, we agree on many things and have over the years.
      I was not, and am not now, in favor of trading Brett and others for one year of Justin. If they trade Brett, make it count...many teams have asked about him!
      Big trade to get someone we really need like a Justin (we need a big stick) and some other players along with us giving up some Farm players ready and willing to play in the bigs.
      should be enough.
      So yes, I would trade Brett for a good deal but, not this one...Brett and other players for Justin, that is a non-starter! Brett and one other player is even a reach for me, but it is acceptable!
      My walk-about took me out to the Big Lake and back...I am almost back in shape again, except for my left wrist, it is a bit tight yet.

  6. News flash...My lovely Boss (wife for you guys not married yet) turned 59 years old today!
    For her birthday she received a trip to San Francisco to visit her baby sister, with a two day stop in Vegas, at our home away from home, the Golden Nugget!

  7. Happy Birthday to the (who must be) Saint Mrs. Ken Reed. 59 years young, what is she doing with your old behind? I kid. Have a great trip guys!

    1. I'm not going with her, it is her week out, with her sister! My present to her!

  8. KENNETH ?
    You let your lovely wife go to Vegas...unescorted ? With her bay sister ?
    There are three hundred Elvis' out in Vegas, Each one loaded with one liners, and geared for romance on his mind. Are you a match....for the ' Hound Dog Men ' ?

    You are 1500 miles away, and these Elvis guys start shaking their tight pants on a nightly basis.
    Where are you ? ......" Duh ?....I'm sending a post to Daniel....about Brett."

    They get up close to your girls, and start singing " Welcome To My World " & " Burning Love " ,
    and your back in Oswego setting trap lines, and doing walkabouts ? Game over.

    UNLESS ?...................

    Or.....are you on the way to Brokeback Moutain, with some guy from the Coast Guard ?

    1. Patrick, my wife is a very headstrong women, and she has had some of the best, try their lines on her before. The Golden Nugget is our home away from home, so we have been there and done that...her sister, not so much!
      In fact, a few years ago she had her swim picture on the cover of the GN information booklet. If I knew how to send it, I would. Do you know how? Anyone?
      Now, being as the Coast Guard are Navy, I will not say a bad word about them, they have been there when needed, a few times. Brokeback Mountain, with some woman would be much better...if I were 10 years younger. Those hills and such are a killer! LOL

  9. Well, enjoy the peace and quiet then Ken. I expect 100 comments a day, unless you have a honey-do list.

    1. Don't we all, Daniel? I have to go to the Casino at The Falls, a couple of times, and feed the dogs. Other than that I am a free man!

      Read your E-Mails!


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)