Red Sox and Justin Upton – Can it Happen?
Justin Upton exercised the no trade clause in his contract to reject Arizona trading him to Seattle.
The rumored players heading from the Mariners were four young players: one of right-hander Taijuan Walker and lefties Danny Hultzen and James Paxton, plus infielder Nick Franklin, lefty Charlie Furbush, and right-hander Stephen Pryor.
Upton would look pretty good in the Red Sox line-up.
What would a comparable trade package from Boston look like?
With the understanding that Upton also has Boston on his no trade list. (Give him more money or extend his contract to change his mind.)
- Walker. Matt Barnes, the Red Sox best pitching prospect, probably falls below Walker. If deal had Hultzen or Paxton, then Barnes is an equivalent.
- Franklin. Red Sox comparables are probably either Jackie Bradley Jr. or Garin Cecchini (a third baseman who would fill an organizational need). (Shout out to John Sickels for his evaluations of the Seattle and Boston farm systems.)
- Furbush. He is a decent reliever who does not reach free agency until 2018. That means Red Sox lefties Andrew Miller and Franklin Morales (both free agents in 2015) may not be seen as equal values. Felix Doubront (free agent in 2018) fits the mold – but is a better player than Furbush (he could balance the Walker/Barnes differential, if that was a trade component). Other possibilities among righties: Alfredo Aceves and Clayton Mortensen.
- Pryor. He’s a young bullpen power arm. Maybe Daniel Bard is a fit. Junichi Tazawa is too much. Alex Wilson would be appealing to Boston if Arizona saw value in him. Or lefty Drake Britton.
So what’s a trade look like?
At its costliest – probably something like: Upton for Barnes, Cecchini, Doubront and Bard. That feels like too much for Boston.
Or maybe Boston can get Arizona to accept Miller or Morales in Doubront’s place.
Or an alternative: Upton for Barnes, Cecchini, Aceves (does he have value?) or Mortensen, and Britton. This probably feels “light” to Arizona.
This off-season, Boston GM Ben Cherington has been pretty clear about his non-interest in trading prospects.
However with an Upton trade, we are talking about a 25 year-old elite talent. Barnes is just three years younger – and has not yet pitched in the big leagues. Upton has been in the majors for six seasons.
Of course, Upton must have some warts (otherwise, why would Arizona even be thinking about trading him?).
But we are talking about a five-tool player who is under contract for three more years.
Should the Red Sox go after Upton? What do you think it would take to make the trade?