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Saturday, January 05, 2013

Robothal: Source: [Justin] Upton trade talks still on

Kevin Towers’ mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.

Justin Upton for Chase Headley?

The Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres have held on-and-off discussions about a trade involving those players since July, but the talks have failed to progress, according to major-league sources.

The Diamondbacks, however, continue to discuss Upton with other clubs, including the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners…

The Rangers want to acquire Upton without giving up either shortstop Elvis Andrus or infielder Jurickson Profar. Their preference is to build a package around third baseman Mike Olt, and the team is willing to add a top pitching prospect and third quality piece to the package, sources say…

The problem for the D-Backs in trading with the Mariners is that the M’s are on Upton’s four-team no-trade list, and sources say that he is not inclined to approve a deal to Seattle…

The Atlanta Braves also have made “strong overtures” for Upton, sources say, and other teams also might be involved in the discussions…

Headley, 28, broke out in 2012, finishing fifth in the voting for National League MVP after batting .286 with an .875 OPS, 31 home runs and a NL-high 115 RBI, all while playing his home games at pitcher-friendly Petco Park.

The Padres likely would need to add to Headley to complete a trade for Upton, who was fourth in the NL MVP voting in 2011. Upton, 25, is younger than Headley, has a longer track record, and is under club control for one more year…

The Rangers have been persistent — and relentless — in their pursuit of Upton. Team officials thought a deal was close at the end of the winter meetings last month, but the talks collapsed, only to recently revive…

Olt, one of the game’s top hitting prospects and a strong defender, is described by one rival executive as, “Joe Crede at worst, Matt Williams light at best.” ...

Left-hander Martin Perez and right-hander Justin Grimm and Cody Buckel are the Rangers’ most highly regarded pitching prospects.

Olt played third base, first base and right field during his brief callup with the Rangers last season. He would not fill an obvious need for the D-Backs, who are waiting on another third-base prospect, Matt Davidson, and are set at first base and the corner-outfield positions. But Olt’s ability to play multiple spots would give the team options.

The District Attorney Posted: January 05, 2013 at 05:51 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, chase headley, diamondbacks, justin upton, ken rosenthal, mariners, padres, rangers, rumors

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. beer on a stick Posted: January 06, 2013 at 12:46 AM (#4339879)
What is it with the NL West and their intradivision trading? It seems incestuous.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: January 06, 2013 at 01:38 AM (#4339888)
OK because of the 4-year age difference, I can see Upton as better than Headley. But Upton does not have a better track record:

JU 2878 PA, 120 OPS+, 13.7 WAR (I dropped his age 19 to be fair)
CH 2792 PA, 115 OPS+, 13.5 WAR

The minor offensive difference is made up for in position. Folks might like to point to Upton's 141 OPS+ in 2011 and 129 OPS+ in 2009 as "upside" but Headley had a 144 OPS+ and a 120 OPS+ in the last two seasons. Even the extra year of control doesn't look that great -- those 3 years of Upton will cost $38.5 M while those are two arb years for Headley -- hard to project but as a super-2, 2nd year of arb he got only $3.5 in 2012. The next two years of Headley aren't likely to cost you more than $18-21 M tops. (Leading the league in RBI -- a great 2013 bar bet -- will probably get him a very nice arb raise.)

If I'm the Padres, I'd do this straight up, especially if I had a prospect 3B but there's no way I'd add anything meaningful to this trade. Obviously the next 10 years of Upton looks a lot rosier than the next 10 for Headley given their age difference, but neither of these teams is likely trading for the next 10 years of these guys. The Padres of 2013-14 look little, if any, better with Upton in place of Headley.

If I'm the Rangers I trade Olt plus a good piece in a second unless I'm concerned about Beltre for no obvious reason (or I think Olt is gonna be a real stud hitter). I am concerned enough about Kinsler that I'd be reluctant to trade Andrus or Profar. But Olt is really the guy that must be more valuable to others than he is to the Rangers so maximize what you can get out of him ... and possibly trade Andrus (or Profar if you don't have faith in him).

   3. silhouetted by the sea Posted: January 06, 2013 at 02:37 AM (#4339901)
Gol- darn it, Mr.Towers you use your tongue prettier than a twenty dollar whore.
   4. J.R. Wolf Posted: January 06, 2013 at 03:41 AM (#4339918)
Nice Blazing Saddles lead-in.
   5. shoewizard Posted: January 06, 2013 at 04:23 AM (#4339931)
Walt, he said LONGER track record, not better. That said, I don't see how these two players can be easily compared the way you are trying to do it. While you generously drop off Upton's age 19 season "to be fair".....Headley did not even get 400 PA's in his age 24 season, the same age as the season Upton just completed. Headley had OPS+ of 110, 102 & 97 at ages 24,25,26, and only began hitting like a "star" at age 28.

If you want to be "fair" to Upton in this comparison, look at last 4 years, combined 122 OPS+ and 13.0 WAR from ages 21-24

Headley, the last 4 years, ages 25-28, has a 116 OPS+, and 12.6 WAR.


Headley probably just had his career year, and Upton hasn't even entered his Peak seasons yet, and already Upton's last 4 seasons at a far younger age add up to at least as much, and objectively slightly more than Headley's.

Josh Byrnes is smartly trying to sell high on Headley's career year and snag Upton just as he is about to enter his prime.

If this trade goes down I am going to be one very very upset fan.
   6. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 06, 2013 at 04:25 AM (#4339932)
This is the only thread on Hot Topics that is about baseball but not about the Hall of Fame or Jose Canseco. I have nothing to contribute to the discussion, but want it to continue.

Um... what about the Padres moving the fences in? How does that affect, up, things?
   7. Poster Nutbag Posted: January 06, 2013 at 08:33 AM (#4339947)
#6 - Offseason blues? Hot stove should be picking up again, no? We will get more action then!
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 06, 2013 at 09:01 AM (#4339949)
Jack Magruber builds a twitter machine out of common household products, then reports Headley / Upton is off. And then blows himself up.
   9. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 06, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4339986)
"Joe Crede at worst" does not inspire confidence. The Braves should get this done with a package of Teheran and Ahmed.
   10. Bob from Indiana Posted: January 06, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4340125)
Is it just me or does Justin Upton look a little soft and fat?

Could that be the reason the D-Backs might be trying to dump him? Bad fitness habits and they suspect he is going to age badly going the Delmon Young route.
   11. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 06, 2013 at 09:41 PM (#4340365)
I think it's just you.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: January 06, 2013 at 10:44 PM (#4340410)
Walt, he said LONGER track record, not better.

96 PA?

If you want to be "fair" to Upton in this comparison, look at last 4 years, combined 122 OPS+ and 13.0 WAR from ages 21-24

Headley, the last 4 years, ages 25-28, has a 116 OPS+, and 12.6 WAR.


Ummm ... those are practically identical to what I posted which was their last 5 seasons. I could have been "fair" to Headley and looked at just the last 3 seasons which is in his favor -- 121 vs 120 in OPS+ and a whopping 12 to 9 in WAR. Or the last two seasons which includes Upton's big year -- 135 vs 125 and 8.6 vs 7.8. Or just last year ...

Headley probably just had his career year, and Upton hasn't even entered his Peak seasons yet,

But in all likelihood Upton has also already had his career year or close to it.

Again, if you were trading for the entirety of these guy's futures, Upton wins hands down due to being 4 years younger. Nobody's doing that though. You're trading the next two years of Player A that will probably cost you $20 M for three years of the equally good Player B that will cost you $37 M. There's no reason to think Headley's production is going to collapse in the next two years and there's very little reason to think that Upton is about to break out in a major way. Both players are likely to return very good $/WAR so it's mainly whether you want to commit that extra $17 M. The inside track on extending Upton is worth more than the inside track on extending Headley but it's not something I would trade anything of value for.

Note, I wouldn't trade Upton for Headley straight up if I was the DBacks but then I wouldn't really be looking to trade Upton to begin with.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 12:51 AM (#4340484)
"Joe Crede at worst" does not inspire confidence.


Slightly below average MLB regular for ten seasons? That's a good floor. The third base pool is shallow these days. Of course, his true "worst" is he goes Andy Marte on us.
   14. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: January 07, 2013 at 03:51 AM (#4340554)
I agree with Crispix. Let's talk about baseball.

Justin Upton put up a 144 OPS+ at age 23 after three above-average seasons from ages 20-22. He suffered through pretty much all of the year with a thumb injury, which surely contributed to his relatively meager output in 2012. Are thumb injuries really damning? If not, he seems like a fantastic buy-low to me. His contract through his age 27 season is a steal at 3/39, and teams should be all over him.

I don't see how Chase Headley is any more appealing to the Diamondbacks than Justin Upton. Headley is also under control for another three years, but has no contract certainty. He likely won't make much less than Upton through arbitration after his terrific 2012.
   15. shoewizard Posted: January 07, 2013 at 09:57 AM (#4340595)
But in all likelihood Upton has also already had his career year or close to it.


I don't find that likely to be the case myself. In fact I'll bet you a $100 donation to this site that he has a better season than his age 23 season within the next 3 years, (or within his current contract).

   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4340768)
Jon Heyman reports the Mets and D-Backs talked Upton. I imagine the conversation went like this.

Mets: Sooo, Justin Upton huh?

Diamondbacks: Yep.

Mets: Cool. Well, see you later!
   17. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:10 AM (#4341711)
The Orioles also talked about Upton with the Diamondbacks.
   18. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:21 AM (#4341719)
The Rangers called the Diamondbacks about Upton, Kubel and Trevor Cahill, but it was a game of "F, Marry, Kill."

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