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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Anthony Castrovince: 10 bold Winter Meetings predictions

These rumors are all wet.

1. Justin Upton to the Orioles

While their hesitance to go to a fourth guaranteed year for Nelson Cruz is understandable, the immediate fact of the matter is that the reigning home run champ now resides elsewhere. Even with Matt Wieters and Manny Machado getting healthier, and even if you believe that Chris Davis is going to rebound, the O’s have some potential for major offensive regression if they don’t make some moves this winter.

In Upton, the O’s can reel in a corner outfielder who has a history of getting on base roughly 35 percent of the time, and can give you a 30-plus-homer season at Camden Yards. This is the kind of move the O’s need to make to maintain their top spot in an AL East in which the Red Sox and Blue Jays are obviously both dramatically improved.

Here’s the rub: The Braves, who appear more certain than ever to move Upton now that they’ve signed Nick Markakis, are looking for young, controllable arms in their bid to build a contender for 2017. There was a time when a top-tier pitching prospect such as Dylan Bundy would have netted far more years of contractual control than Upton, a pending free agent, provides. But in this starting-saturated market - and with Bundy re-establishing himself following Tommy John surgery - I’m not so sure that’s the case. Would the O’s be willing to part with Bundy’s long-term potential for some short-term thump? Hard to say, but their free-agent options have thinned in a hurry.


 

 

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