Michael Scannell - Justin Upton: Oh Really?

The availability of Justin Upton has been in the news again recently, with additional news that the Mets are pursuing him (somewhat).  Upton would provide another RH OF power bat to hit in the middle of the order.  He's signed until the 2016 season and is still relatively young, meaning he can be another long-term core player for the Next Mets.  Given the players that both fit the profile (young, RH power-hitting OF) and are available in the majors and minors, Upton would be the second-best target for the Mets, behind only Giancarlo Stanton.  The problem with trading for Upton right now is that the Mets might have to undo their recent work in building up their farm system to get him.....or not.

Upton rejected a trade to the Mariners that would have sent Nick Franklin, Taijuan Walker, and 2 relievers to Arizona.  There are a lot of data points we can pull from this deal:

- Upton is available
- AZ is still looking for a SS in a trade for him
- An acquiring team will have to include a pitching prospect to get him
- While the Mariners deal was accepted, it wasn't necessarily the minimum to get Upton, just the best offered.
- Meaning - Another team could conceivably come in with a similar but slightly lesser offer and acquire Upton.

Off the bat, a comparable deal for the Mets would be Zach Wheeler, Wilmer Flores, Bobby Parnell, and Josh Edgin.  As much as I like Upton, if that were a price I'd be willing to meet, I'd improve that offer and then shop it to Miami for Stanton.  From that standpoint, it's a non-starter.

It had been speculated that teams interested in Upton earlier this winter were looking to first acquire Asdrubal Cabrera from Cleveland and then flip him to Arizona for the slugger.  A couple of three-team deals had been rumored been never materialized.  I think the Mets should revisit this strategy for their own concerns.  What would the cost for Cabrera be?  It's not possible to be certain, however we can also look at the Phillies' failed attempt to acquire the SS in November.  Their offer was said to be what they dealt for Ben Revere - Vance Worley and Trevor May.  The offer was close, but couldn't sway Cleveland.

By using the Philly offer as a baseline, the Mets could offer Dillon Gee and Lucas Duda.  Gee is a comparable pitcher to Worley and Duda is a solid upgrade to May.  Although May has a live arm, he was 23 in AA and did not perform very well at all.  Duda already has some major league seasoning, carries 20-25 HR power, and would give the Indians their best DH option and a young replacement for Travis Hafner.

How would this affect a trade package in comparison to Seattle's offer?  Cabrera brings more value than Frankin does.  Although I believe Franklin has the talent to eventually be better than Cabrera, Asdrubal has already been to two All-Star games and earned a Silver Slugger.  Because Cabrera is an established MLB star player, the Mets would likely not have to include a TOR pitching prospect (Wheeler, Harvey, Syndergaard) as well.  I think someone like Fulmer would be an attractive trade piece.  If not for the recent acquisition of Noah Syndergaard, I would think of Fulmer as untouchable.  Now, the organization has increased depth and I wouldn't be against moving him for someone like Upton.  To cover the remaining 2 relievers, I would offer only Bobby Parnell to start.  Why?  The Seattle offer didn't go through and other offers might not be a strong.  No need to set the market....start with this and see what AZ's counter is.

To sum up, the three-team deal would look like this:

METS - Justin Upton
DIAMONDBACKS - Asdrubal Cabrera, Michael Fulmer, Bobby Parnell
INDIANS - Dillon Gee, Lucas Duda

This does not include any additional players that might be requested by Cleveland or Arizona, nor does it include any additional players coming to the Mets to balance out the trade.  In total, the Mets would be trading Dillon Gee, Lucas Duda, Michael Fulmer, and Bobby Parnell for Justin Upton.  Would you make this deal?  I certainly would.

Dillon Gee can be replaced in the rotation by Jenrry Mejia.  Gee was slated to fill the #5 spot in the rotation anyway (with the Mets looking to sign a FA to go with Santana, Harvey, and Niese) so I don't think that allowing Mejia the chance to prove himself would be awful.  In fact, I think he can replicate Gee's 4.10 2012 ERA as well as add more K's.  Duda's lineup spot is taken by Upton, so there is no organizational subtraction there.  As mentioned above, Syndergaard's arrival makes Fulmer expendable, and the Mets' organizational pitching depth and/or salary flexibility should make replacing Parnell relatively easy.  The Mets might have to add one of their other live-arm talents (Cory Mazzoni?) or athletes (Jordanny Valdespin?) to either side of this deal, but I'd still make the trade.  Getting Upton without including any core prospects is a steal any way you look at it.


The Closer said...

Michael, exactly the type of thinking that would potentially get a guy like Upton in Flushing. I'm all in favor for a deal like this or similar to this.

I was thinking of a deal like this myself, just not a 3 way deal, but Dillon Gee and Bobby Parnell were in the deal, as well as Wilmer Flores and basically anyone else not named Wheeler, Harvey, Syndergard, D'arnaud. I would basically give them a list of 10 players, tell them to pick 3 and we pick 1 and see where that takes us. I don't see any other teams blowing them away with trade offers for him and frankly I don't think anyone else will.

If Kevin Towers is demanding anyone of our big 4, well then pass, but if he's willing to take quantity of quality players, then we certainly can match up well with them to make a reasonable deal. We have a lot of extra guys we can throw in as a 5th player as well if needed, Satin, Lutz, Valdespin, McHugh, etc that are ML ready, but not part of our future to sweeten the pot if needed.

Charles said...

I would Not do that deal and the reason is the cost of starting pitching.

Even mediocre pitchers are getting a lot of money, so why would the Mets hand over three pitchers with multiple years of control left for a outfielder that is average at best away from his hitter friendly home ballpark?

Gee, Parnell are both solid major leaguers. The cost of both of them on today's market is A LOT more then Upton's next three years. Now, you'd have to replace them with at least the same quality to make this trade even improve the club. The Mets starting rotation and bullpen are already short and now you'd be really killing it.

I could see parting with Fulmer, Flores, Duda, and another player that isn't on the ML roster or one of the Mets other top prospects.

For Stanton? Yes I make that deal. He's a proven commodity. Upton just has not lived up to his potential. I'm not depleting my rotation and bullpen for a guy I am hoping reaches his potential. With that type of deal, both parties must take that chance. That's why Seattle's package was centered on prospects. Arizona also had to hope it worked out. Check out the splits, Upton is not the same player away from Arizona.

Mack Ade said...

We probably need to put this subject down.

Heyman reports that any deal HAS to have Zack Wheeler in it and the Mets are not going to do that.

It's not worth discussing because they have decided that they will build their future on a 1-2 of Harvey and Wheeler.

Hobie said...

I guess I’m just not that confident on what Upton nrimgs. His 2010 & 2012 were very Duda-like, and that’s the composite Duda. Upton’s 2009/11 were clearly superior to the better Duda, and there’s the defense of course. Duda could be Dunn-lite or a LH Swoboda; I think the jury is still out but certainly there’s a gap between the expected value of Duda v. Upton.

But remember we're not adding JU to a Duda + Gowgill + whatever OF, we’d be replacing. So the question is: what is the value of the delta? Is it Gee + Parnell + Fulmer? Tough question, but I have my doubts.

Hobie said...

That's actually a relief, Mack.

Sign Hairston an continue to explore any number of your Target OF'ers.

Charles said...

I agree, put a fork in it.

Herb G said...

You guys who are ready to bury the Upton trade talks, don't be too hasty to buy a headstone. One dark night soon, Justin could come crawling up out of the grave, brought to life by DR. Frankensandy and his henchman Igor Towers. How many times did we hear that the Dickey talks with this team were going nowhere, and with that team were going nowhere, and . . . suddenly he was wearing a Blue Jays cap.

With due respect, I won't talk down the idea of an Upton trade anymore, at least until the rumors of renewed talks surface once again.

Mack Ade said...

Guys, I'm going to take the morning report in a more generic direction up to Spring Training.

As I much I hate to admit it, denying me press passes after having them for the years of 2007-2010 just huts so much. The short version is actually a long one.

I was a legitimate beat reporter for Morris New Services that owned the Savannah Morning News in Savannah. I was assigned to write a full pahe feature on the Sand Gnats for thee years (2007-2010). I filed with Jay and he supplied full press passed for ST because I was a beat report. (sorry for spelling... meds have kicked in).

The problem began when I arrived and the beat reporters didn't know I was a newspaper reporter. They thought I had violated the No blogger in the clubohuse" policy that was in affect at the time,

Jay became very hostile and made considerable inquiries asking if I was "broadcasting live in the clubhouse. I had no idea what he was talking about.

Anyway, I was poisoned to Jay and pained as a bloogger not a reporter. I thin one of them was Rubin. Another could have been Tobi Stoner. And lastly, possibly Joe DeCarlo. I really don't know but Jay refuses to give me any explanation, removed me from the daily press release, doesn't include me in the blogger teleconference and and breaks my heart one a year.

Many have asked if they could stand uo for me but, for their sake, Iask they that stay out of this.

It's just sad. I' sure I did something, but I just don't remember what it is and wish I had an explanation.

Sorry for the spelling. I'm really shot up at this point in the night

Michael S. said...

Closer - Thanks! If the Mets were to deal for Upton, it would have to be for lesser players than their top prospects. He's a talented player who fits a position of need (Power-hitting RH OF) and there are only a few who might be available, but moving anyone of consequence wouldn't be getting good value.

Charles - I think you're greatly overvaluing Gee at this point. He's a solid #5 starter, maybe a #4 on a second-tier team. Hardly a player you'd hold onto rather than acquire a potential MVP player. This is also considering that if he has a future here, it's likely going to be as a back-end starter (easily replaceable) or in the bullpen (ditto). Parnell is talented but the Mets could very easily sell high. With the organization building up its pitching depth, moving a bullpen arm won't kill them in the long run. I'm not concerned about the 2013 bullpen if it gets the team another foundation piece going forward. Removing Gee and Parnell to acquire a power-hitting OF makes the overall team better, we wouldn't be trading anyone irreplaceable like Matt Harvey or Jon Niese.

Gee and Parnell are worth more over the next 3 years than Upton? Then Sandy should shop the two of them on the open market and see if he can bring back a Nick Franklin and Tajuan Wagner. I understand that starting pitching is valuable, but the Mets have to give to get and this way they'd be able to hold onto their really valuable assets.

I'm not worried about Upton's splits. The same was said of Matt Holliday and he adjusted fine once he left Coors. Upton was a #1 overall pick and performed at a high level in the minors (Top 10 overall for 2 years). I can't see him coming here and being just an average player.

He's only 25 and already has a silver slugger, a top-25 MVP finish and a top-5 MVP finish. He isn't the best (Stanton) but he's damn good and would be a solid improvement to the lineup.

Fulmer, Flores, Duda, + would also be an acceptable trade package and still be a steal. I would hope to hold onto Flores for another trade though. I just think he'll have more trade value than Gee. A lot of teams will be looking for a young 3B and he could be their answer.

Hobie - Upton is decidedly better than Duda and he's the much better bet going forward. This is as much a 2014-15 move as a 2013 move. I don't see Duda playing a significant role on the team by then.

If the Mets decided that they wanted to go into 2013 with an OF of Valdespin-Nieuwenhuis-Upton, I could happily live with that.

SS Tejada
LF Valdespin
3B Wright
1B Davis
RF Upton
2B Murphy
Ca d'Arnaud
CF Nieuwenhuis

...would be good enough for this year. The Mets will still have to add 2 more OF anyway, might as well get one of the 3 needed when the opportunity presents itself.

You're right, there are questions about Upton, but based on all other players that could fit the bill, it's a gamble worth taking especially given his age and upside.

Mack - Okay, noted. I wrote this before Heyman's tweet. I'm doubtful as to whether it's "impossible" without Wheeler, but the Mets aren't desperate for Upton so the Dbacks can pound sand if that's what they require.

Herb - Never say never...

The Closer said...

Upton's trade value will come down, especially of Bourn resigns with Atlanta or Texas. Remember the Johan trade? In this case, wheeler = F-Mart and Of course Towers would ask for our best prospects. Towers knows that Upton will not be a happy camper come ST, so getting the most value for him now, might be something hes interested in. I think the biggest point I'd like to mention is the Justin Upton is only 25 years old!!! He already has 108 Hrs to hit record.

Most prospects arejust breaking into the bigs and hes been around for a few years. I remember seeing an age chart about when players hit their peak performance and if I remember correctly, the best years were 26-29, which is what Upton is entering this season. We don't exactly have anyone like him coming up (Courtney Hawkins would have been nice lol) and I'm of the opinion that Dillon Gee and Bobby Parnell are very expendable considering how I value Upton and knowing starting pitching is where we have some depth in the minor leagues and can replace. Dillon Gee is nothing more than #4 or #5 starter at best and Bobby Parnell hasn't exactly flourished to this point. It's much easier to replace a mid rotation starter and a bullpen arm than a guy that can hit .280/25/85 in an average season.

I guess we'll just need to agree to disagree since we all value Upton very differently. I think his trade value will come down and he can potentially be had without giving up our future core guys, but if not then we move on, but just remember Stanton will potentially cost a whole LOT more than Upton will and he will have many suitors for his services, which will drive his value sky high.

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