Rumors Intensify for Justin Upton and Michael Bourn; Cubs Sign Scott Hairston


So, Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers is heading out on vacation Friday. Why is that important? Well, rumor has it Towers would like to complete a deal for either Justin Upton or Jason Kubel before he goes off the clock for a few days to rest before Spring Training starts. Although it was once again said that there was no rush to make a deal done, the increased activity certainly tells us otherwise.

There have been plenty of rumors flying around in a short period of time since the process started to get moving again yesterday afternoon. While the Rangers have stuck to their word and not discussed the possibility of acquiring Upton with Arizona for weeks now, it seems as if the Braves are the most likely landing spot for the right fielder if a deal gets done. Earlier, we found out Atlanta couldn’t even get a call back from Arizona until now, and only because Upton’s market has shrunk. However, Towers is still trying to get the most out of this situation, as he’s continuing to engage the Orioles in talks for Jason Kubel, but Jon Heyman says that kind of deal is getting less likely. David O’Brien confirmed Atlanta has put in an offer, and speculates that it includes Julio Teheran, along with two or three other prospects.

Feb 25, 2011; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets outfielder Scott Hairston (12) leads off the game with a home run during spring training at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Abriano did a nice job summarizing some of the latest rumors yesterday evening on Rising Apple, and he feels the Mets should swoop in to try and take Upton right out of Frank Wren’s hands…and I agree with him. Teheran is a solid prospect to build a deal around, but New York has plenty of young arms that are more advanced in their development (not named Wheeler, Harvey, or Syndergaard) that should be more attractive to Towers, especially now that he’s recognized his market for Upton has gotten smaller. If Alderson could pull off this kind of miracle and acquire Upton, that could be the domino that needs to fall for New York to then pursue someone like Michael Bourn more aggressively.

Although I’d support a signing of Michael Bourn wholeheartedly and welcome him with open arms, I understand why fans wouldn’t want him to come to Flushing. At this point, Bourn isn’t a player that will put the Mets “over the top,” but he would give the outfield some instant credibility. Some are also saying he’s on the wrong side of 30 and they shouldn’t waste the money on him because he’s going to break down, but the man stole 42 bases last year for Atlanta; the Mets had 79 stolen bases in 2012…as a team. Combine that with a career OBP of .340, and I’d be cool with bringing him in on a three-year deal, regardless of whether or not Sandy can bring in another prominent outfielder, even though he’s left handed. More on Bourn and the Mets to come later today on the site from our own Kevin Baez, and the rumors are summarized nicely on MetsBlog.

Jonathan Mayo was at it again with his top-10 prospect rankings, as he looked at the best up-and-coming catchers. He’s once again given Mets fans some very encouraging news, as he ranked newly-acquired Travis d’Arnaud as the top catching prospect in all of Major League Baseball. Everything Mayo says in his short write-up about d’Arnaud is glowing of the potential he has at the next level, and said that he’s only still a prospect at this point because of a couple injuries.

I’m excited to see him in Spring Training to see him in action, and if he tears it up in Port St. Lucie, I’m cool with him breaking camp in the Big Leagues instead of him hanging in Triple-A for 20 days to delay his free agency. Obviously, that would make sense from a business and financial standpoint, but let’s hope that if d’Arnaud pans out the way everyone expects him to (and dear Lord I hope he does), the Mets won’t drop the ball with locking him up for the long haul.

But, that remains to be seen. For now, we sit and wait to find out if the Braves get that much stronger by acquiring Upton, or if the Mets can swoop in and make a big, unexpected splash. The rumors surrounding Justin and New York’s apparent interest in Bourn were likely stalling Scott Hairston‘s destination, and we found out last night that Sandy stalled and low-balled him enough to sign elsewhere, as the outfielder agreed to sign a two-year deal worth up to $6 million, pending a physical. He’ll form a productive platoon at Wrigley with both David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz.

Now, there really isn’t much left on the market for Alderson to go after outside of Bourn. You have to wonder if they knew Hairston would be signing elsewhere earlier this week, especially since their interest in Bourn has increased.