Early Friday afternoon, MLB Trade Rumors ran an article stating the Mets view free agent Scott Hairston as a fallback option for the outfield, and would rather acquire a prominent outfielder for the long-term. Then, Marc Carig of Newsday reported that sources with inside knowledge found out New York has once again engaged the Diamondbacks in trade talks for Justin Upton, on the heels of him rejecting a trade that would have sent him to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for four of the organization’s top-ten prospects.
Alderson had checked in with Arizona earlier this winter about both Upton and Jason Kubel, but he found Upton’s price too high, and he wasn’t willing to part with pieces for Kubel since he wasn’t a perfect fit for New York’s outfield problem. However, if the asking price for Upton decreases, he would be a perfect fit in right field. He’s under contract until 2015 at the bargain price of $38.5 million. Although he’s coming off a down season in which he hit .280/.355/.430 with 17 homers and 67 RBI, he’s only going to be 25 years old, is right-handed, not a defensive liability, and is under contract for what could very well be the prime of his career.
August 22, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson speaks about pitcher Johan Santana (not pictured) during a press conference before a game against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Upton does have 30-HR potential, as he showed that in 2011 when he slugged 31 longballs and drove in 88 runs. Even in his down year of 2012, he out-performed almost every Mets outfielder in virtually every offensive category. However, when earlier trade talks started with Sandy parting with Zack Wheeler, it was good of him to walk away and let Arizona GM Kevin Towers test the rest of the market. His asking price is incredibly high, but it was kind of the same for R.A. Dickey as well, so it’s understandable as to why Arizona is trying to get the best return possible for his outfielder. However, if he does want to unload Upton before next month (and it certainly looks like he does), he’s going to have to lower his price to make it happen.
Carig’s source does say the Mets’ stance on untouchable players remains the same, as they will not be trading Wheeler or Matt Harvey, but New York has quite a few attractive prospects that could help get the two sides on the same page for a deal. Danny Abriano worte a great article yesterday that proposed some potential names Sandy Alderson could throw around and entice Towers with. In comparison to what Seattle was offering up, some of the names Danny mentioned include the recently acquired Noah Syndergaard, Michael Fulmer, Jenrry Mejia, and Jeurys Familia. Outside of Wheeler and Harvey, there are great prospects in the Mets’ system that have the potential for great success at the Major League level, but they may have to ship some out to help a glaring need on the Big League roster, and this situation would justify it.
I don’t think New York should give up the farm for him, but Alderson should wait it out just like he did for the Dickey deal and see if the price will ultimately drop since time is running out before pitchers and catchers report. As Danny said in his article, analysts said the Amazins didn’t have the prospects to acquire Johan Santana, but they did. People said no one would trade a top prospect for Carlos Beltran, but it happened. And, we all know what happened with R.A. Dickey.
We all want Upton, so that would be a silly question, but to what level do you want to see Sandy go to acquire him? There is a new poll up on the right hand side of this article…let us know what you think!
In case you missed all the great articles that were on Rising Apple yesterday, here’s a quick recap. I already mentioned Danny’s article on Upton, but Rich Sparago also talked about the outfield, asking whether Michael Bourn is worth a draft pick. Will DeBoer gave us his thoughts on Mike Piazza and the Hall of Fame, while also giving Donn Clendenon his time in the spot light with his latest edition of Glory Days. I picked two relievers that could be of interest to New York, as well as saluting Edgardo Alfonzo as yesterday’s off-season player of the week.