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Red Sox expected to pursue trade for Justin Upton … or not

Nov 7, 2012, 8:48 PM EDT

upton getty Getty Images

Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald brings the knowledge:

The Arizona Diamondbacks are once again actively shopping outfielder Justin Upton, and despite the appearance of the Red Sox on Upton’s no-trade list, that would not prohibit a trade of the 25-year-old to Boston, according to a major-league source. Players frequently insert names of teams they are willing to play for, as in this case between Upton and the Red Sox, on their no-trade list for negotiating purposes in the event of a trade. The Dodgers were on Carl Crawford’s no-trade in August.

The bigger problem for the Red Sox is that they don’t have very many attractive trade chips and they’ll be battling for Upton this winter with teams — like the Rangers — that do. But let’s not rule out any club quite yet.

Upton grew up in Virginia and is known to have interest in returning full-time to the East Coast.

He batted .280/.355/.430 with 17 home runs, 18 stolen bases and 67 RBI in 150 games this past season.

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UPDATE, 9:01 PM: Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic was told by Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers that the Red Sox are not on Upton’s no-trade list. So that hurdle doesn’t need to be cleared.

UPDATE, 10:45 PM: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says the Red Sox are already out.

  1. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Nov 7, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    You can probably correct the title of this post by changing “Red Sox” to “Every Team”

  2. randygnyc - Nov 7, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    Yankees will be in on these trade discussions, for sure. If they can add his potential, for multiple years, they’ll be on the phone.

    • ryan02190 - Nov 7, 2012 at 9:47 PM

      Yes, tell me, who will they give up for him?

  3. muckthefets23 - Nov 7, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    I would love for the Phillies to be the front runner on this Upton according to Heyman. Alas, I don’t think they have the chips for this one.

  4. hitdog042 - Nov 7, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    The Red Sox don’t have the chips? Uh. Yes they do if they choose to trade them. Middlebrooks. Boegarts. The ransom they took from the Dodgers…. Geez. They have plenty to get Upton if they so choose.

    • bigleagues - Nov 7, 2012 at 10:55 PM

      The Red Sox would not have to part with Middlebrooks, Bogaerts, Bradley, or Barnes to acquire Upton if Ellsbury is the centerpiece going back to Arizona. Then the Sox could add in an Iglesias and something like Brentz or De la Rosa.

      Of course, Middlebrooks does represent an intriguing possibility. I don’t think most people have been following this as closely as I have, but Bogaerts is growing and filling out at such a clip he is more and more likely to start next year at 3B for Portland or Pawtucket. And if all goes well there, then despite being a very solid 3B in his own right, Middlebrooks would have to switch positions or be dealt. I firmly believe that ultimately as long as Middlebrooks is in a Red Sox uni, that his future is at 1B.

      That is, unless the Sox include him in the right deal, and doing so in a Justin Upton trade would make perfect sense.

      • paperlions - Nov 8, 2012 at 9:21 AM

        Arizona doesn’t need OFers, they won’t be trading Upton while getting another OFer in return as the centerpiece of a deal. They need IFers, not OFers…and they want good ones, which is why they are offering the guy with the most value.

      • bigleagues - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        They have already dealth Chris Young. If they deal Upton for an IF prospect (still not seeing the logic in this) they are left with Kubel, Parra and Eaton. That’s one bad OF, one average OF and one unproven 5’8″ OF who was drafted in the 19th Round and has exactly one month of MLB service under his belt. Only Kubel offers any power and that comes and goes with his production.

        Sorry, I’m not seeing this overflow of OF talent that everyone keeps asserting.

        Ellsbury is probably not gonna hit 30 HR’s again, but no one should write him off for 20 HR and he remains a legit 40-60 SB threat, an above average contact hitter, has elite speed, is one of the absolute best CF’ers in the game and is a legit leadoff hitter.

        One of their Top 5 prospects is Chris Owings at Shortstop. Opinions vary on him as a MLB SS, but Hill is only signed through next season, and if Hill has another big season, he’ll probably become a little too rich for DBacks tastes going forward – most people think Owings long term value is at 2B.

        The DBacks have one of the top 3B prospects in the game in Matt Davidson and he is perhaps one season away. So it’s hard to imagine they will make any serious long term commitment there when they have the upside of a very good young team controlled player at a position as scarce in talent as 3B.

        I’m gonna go out on a limb and state that I think they are pretty happy with Goldschmidt and Hill.

        So, as the Infielder goes – IF the DBacks are intent on landing an Infielder – my bet is they would zero in on a SS or a SP along with an OF. The Red Sox would seem to have the pieces to get that done. With their own Profar-level talent in Bogaerts a season or less away, the Sox can make the defensive wizardry of Iglesias expendable. No one can argue that Iglesias isn’s MLB level talent on the defensive side of field. His offense has a better chance to develop into something modestly useable with a team like the DBacks. And I wouldn’t hesitate to include De La Rosa or Webster in a deal for Upton.

  5. fantasymoney - Nov 7, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Even after the down year, it’s still going to take a pretty hefty package to land Upton. He’s only 25 and still has time to improve his game and reach his potential. At 3yrs and 38.5M left on his contract, who wouldn’t take that risk during these ripe years of his development?

  6. bigleagues - Nov 7, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Drew Silva:

    I don’t expect you to know the Red Sox in and out, or what the chatter has been in Beantown for the past two months, but it has been speculated that the Red Sox would be willing to deal Ellsbury and at least one prominent young player/pitcher to acquire J-Up.

    Ellsbury is from Oregon, split time growing up between there and Phoenix where he has trained in the off-season. His family still lives out there and you would have to believe he’d be receptive to going back West. Ellsbury is of course, hitting FA after 2013. And he’ll be starting his next contract when he is 31. It makes perfect sense for the Red Sox to explore moving him.

    Ken Kendrick and Justin Upton have obviously had some differences. He called Upton and Stephen Drew out this past season for ‘underperforming’. Drew is gone (and I believe more than likely could end up in Boston) and I think we all know Upton is likely to be next.

    Phoenix is clearly in a win now mode and acquiring Ellsbury (even the lower power version) in place of Upton would make a ton of sense.

    Having said that, the Red Sox farm system is light years ahead of this time last season – mostly through development and from somewhat from trade acquisitions.

    I do believe the Red Sox can put together a very reasonable, yet attractive package for Justin Upton without coughing up any of the players they intend to keep (Barnes, Bogaerts, Bradley and either Webster or De La Rosa).

    If the Sox acquire Upton, don’t be surprised to see BJ Upton join him. The Upton’s are uber competitive and supportive of each other. Bringing them together in the same OF could be a masterstroke in terms of sparking both players to get to the next level.

    1B) Swisher/Sands/Loney
    2B) Pedroia
    SS) Drew
    3B) Middlebrooks
    LF) Swisher/Sands
    CF) BJ
    RF) Justin
    DH) Ortiz

    Alternately, the Sox could do something like this.

    1B) Swisher or Youkilis or Sands and/or Loney
    2B) Pedroia
    SS) Drew
    3B) Middlebrooks
    LF) Ross or Pagan or Victorino
    CF) BJ
    RF) Justin
    DH) Ortiz

    Ultimately, and admittedly, those two lineups represent tremendous overhauls, but with the exception of BJ Upton, both of those lineup fixes carry very reasonable costs and relatively short terms.

    And they would represent a pretty slick rebuild on Cherington’s part with competitive lineups and above average defense.

    The free agent market is not as weak as many have characterized it. It’s short on attractive superstars, but SFW?! It’s full of quality ‘parts’ and acquiring the right quality ‘parts’ when, as is the case with the Red Sox (they already have their ‘star’ players) is really how a team improves.

    • aarondommin - Nov 7, 2012 at 11:06 PM

      The diamondbacks will only trade Upton for a frontline starter like Lester OR a SS and 3b like Iglesias and Middlebrooks. They do NOT need OF’ers. Adam Eaton, Gerardo Parra, and Jason Kubel will be the OF if J-Up is dealt but Ellsbury is of ZERO interest to the D-Backs.

      • paperlions - Nov 8, 2012 at 9:24 AM

        Exactly. Ignoring what the other team needs when making your argument is just a waste of time.

      • bigleagues - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:35 AM

        aarondommin please see my response to paperlions above.

        Beyond the fact that virtually NO ONE is gonna surrender an established Top 1 or 2 Starter in his prime for an OF with performance swings like JUpton’s – no matter how young and talented he is (unless, of course those OF’s have surnames like Harper or Trout) – your claim that the DBacks needs are solely in the Infield is shortsighted to say the least.

        You list Eaton? Admittedly he has had impressive averages in the Minors, but he stands at 5’8″, was a 19th Round pick and has exactly one month of service time under his belt. Could he be a good – perhaps very good- MLB player? Yep? But he remains completely unproven. You add in Parra who is a nice player, and could more than make up for his average glove with his offense, and Kubel, whose production ebbs and flows and is not good defensively – and what do you have? An average to below average Outfield.

        Ellsbury is an ELITE defender and 30 HR power or not he is one of the best lead-off hitters in the game.

        If the Red Sox make an offer that includes Ellsbury & Iglesias – you’re gonna tell me with a straight face that the DBacks aren’t gonna think long and hard about that?

        PUHHHHH-LEEEZ.

  7. thebadguyswon - Nov 7, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    Frontline starter like Lester? What? Or did you mean former frontline starter who’s probably injured like Lester?

    • bigleagues - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      IF he’s been injured, then is he really a former frontline starter?

      Isn’t it possible that after 4 straight incredibly consistent seasons, 3 pitching coaches, 2 managers and much chaos and controversy – he simply had a bad 12 months?

      And WHY would the Sox want to move Lester with the guy he reveres – (Farrell) as igniting his career – now in charge?

  8. muckthefets - Nov 7, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Hitdog I meant the Phils don’t have the chips, it would take a haul to pry him from the dbacks I’d imagine…

  9. pappageorgio - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    Upton to the tigers for a package centered around Nick Castellanos. Dombrowski is going to sell out for a world series and i dont think NC’s transition to the OF is going as smoothly as advertised and fits the bill as a 3b AZ is looking for.

    Towers likes collecting young prospects with potential (so that he can become disillusioned with them and trade them for more prospects later).

  10. stex52 - Nov 8, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    I love the these trade speculations. They can be even funnier on the home team sites.

    “Why doesn’t the GM just send a couple of AA prospects to Detroit? We can get Cabrera and Verlander back and then we’re set.”

    • paperlions - Nov 8, 2012 at 9:54 AM

      Yeah, high comedy. No fan base is immune.

      My favorites are the obviously disingenuous arguments that play up the players they are looking to trade….yeah, well….if they are so freaking great, why would you be so happy to see them traded.

  11. poprox13 - Nov 8, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Thank God the Red Sox wised up and pulled out. Wish I would have done the same ;)

  12. j0esixpack - Nov 8, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Seeing as his numbers have dipped it seems to me the Diamondbacks floated this rumor just to jump start talks.

    And they know there is no better way to convince the Yankees to overpay than saying the Red Sox are interested

  13. djjackson81 - Nov 9, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    News flash the Dbacks are not shopping Upton for another outfielder. That is why they are thinking of moving Upton cause they are deep in their own outfield. Trading one for their needs at SS or third or Starting Pitcher. Is the only way Upton goes.

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