As I’m sure you know by now, the Yanks and Red Sox were both reported to have inquired on the availability of Diamondbacks star CF Justin Upton. I wonder where the other 28 teams were, if this rumor is at all serious. It may be nothing, all players are available on some level and Kevin Towers has been known to talk a bit when you stick a microphone under his nose. But with the D-Backs in full rebuild mode it’s something you have to at least take a look at. Good buddy Mike Silva of NYBD has some details (via Ken Rosenthal) on what a potential deal might look like:
Reports indicate the asking price for Upton will be an outfielder, a reliever and a starting pitcher. The Yankees have those pieces to spare as they could offer Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, and a pitcher of the Ivan Nova, Hector Noesi, or Andrew Brackman ilk.
I’m not sure that’s enough, but Mike makes an excellent point when he goes on to say that the Yanks would have an inside track in dealing with Towers. He’s long been friends with Brian Cashman and just finished a brief stint as a consultant for the team, so he’s very familiar with the Yankee system. I’d have to think he would insist on one of the other killer B’s in Betances or Banuelos for a young star like Justin. Of course any of your outfielders are expendable if you acquire a CF, but given that the D-Backs have long had financial issues and they just held a fire sale last year, the young, cheap Gardner sounds like a good fit over more expensive alternatives in Swisher or Granderson.
In a recent post on Fangraphs Dave Cameron broke down his residual value, and even with modest performance expectations it’s still huge:
Good Player, Not A Superstar
2011 – +3.5 WAR, $17.5 million value, $4.25 million salary
2012 – +4.0 WAR, $20.8 million value, $6.75 million salary
2013 – +4.5 WAR, $24.8 million value, $9.75 million salary
2014 – +4.5 WAR, $25.7 million value, $14.25 million salary
2015 – +5.0 WAR, $30.0 million value, $14.5 million salary
Total: +21.5 WAR, $118.7 million value, $49.5 million salary
That puts Upton at about $70 million in surplus value over what his contract will pay him between 2011 and 2015.
Upton Becomes Elite
2011 – +4.5 WAR, $22.5 million value, $4.25 million salary
2012 – +5.0 WAR, $26.0 million value, $6.75 million salary
2013 – +5.5 WAR, $30.25 million value, $9.75 million salary
2014 – +6.0 WAR, $34.25 million value, $14.25 million salary
2015 – +6.5 WAR, $39.0 million value, $14.5 million salary
Total: +27.5 WAR, $152.0 million value, $49.5 million salary
This is where making a deal becomes daunting. In either scenario there’s an enormous amount of value to make up for. Brett Gardner gives you some of it, but the reliever would need to be someone less speculative than Joba, and the starter prospect would have to be a no brainer. Many think that Manny Banuelos will wind up in the bullpen given his small stature, and Betances is considered to be a high-upside/big downside wild card with some injury history. Ivan Nova has a lower ceiling but higher floor, and could be plugged into a MLB rotation from the beginning of next year. Not sure if Towers will want to roll the dice on Dellin or take a safer bet in Nova. As we saw last year with Ian Kennedy, you don’t need a huge upside to compete and succeed in the NL West. I wouldn’t completely rule out Joba as well. Towers may think (as many do) that the Yanks have totally screwed up his development, and may view him as a starter with some big upside. But that makes him something of a throw-in for a deal, where he takes Joba over some AA pitcher as a final piece. The Yanks may want to hold onto him in that scenario.
All totaled I think a possible deal would be Brett Gardner, Dave Robertson, Ivan Nova and another arm that could go either way (bullpen/rotation) with some upside in Stoneburner, Warren or Joba. What do you think? Would you make that deal? Or do you think the Yanks would be better off keeping their depth and standing pat?
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