Yesterday morning, Steve posted about trading for Justin Upton. I’m all for this idea; Upton’s a great talent who’s still under 25 (for about a month or so more) and he’s under team control through 2015. He’d make the Yankees better just like he’d make every other team in the league better if he were traded to them. If the Yankees can get a reasonable deal done in July, they should do it. However, I wonder if they’d be better served waiting for the offseason.
Last night while in the car, I heard Jon Heyman on WFAN, and he seemed to think that the Diamondbacks are seemingly just gauging interest now and will look to move Upton after the season rather than at the trade-deadline. If this comes to pass, I’d like the Yankees to travel down that path. The general thought around the Internet is that any trade the Yankees make for Justin Upton will have to include Ivan Nova. Doing that now obviously creates a hole that may not necessarily be easy to fill. While the Yankees could theoretically plug in David Phelps or D.J. Mitchell to Nova’s vacated spot or make another trade, the former plan is hardly a guarantee (and it keeps Freddy Garcia in the rotation, a dangerous proposition) and the latter means more usage of resources for something non-guaranteed. Waiting until the off-season gives the Yankees a chance to do a few things.
For one, in terms of replacing Nova for 2013 (and beyond) the Yankees will have more options. Their minor league options–such as Phelps, Mitchell, and Adam Warren–can get more seasoning and be more ready to take over for Nova if he is gone. In a similar vein, they can better evaluate their own assets and see whom they think they can part with or not part with. In the off-season, they can also use their financial resources to pull in a free agent pitcher to replace Nova, something that’s not necessarily possible right now.
If the Yankees can get Upton now without having to give up Ivan Nova or Phil Hughes, they should do it. If that is a case that can’t or won’t come true (and Upton doesn’t get traded), they should sit on the sidelines, biding their time, wating to see if the Diamondbacks reopen the Upton bidding.
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