Given his stature on the market, a trade involving Justin Upton will have implications for almost every team still in the market for a player of any kind. For that reason, I remain very interested in tracking his movements, even if the Cubs are no longer involved.
Today, Upton chatter picked up markedly, with reports suggesting not only that the Diamondbacks would like to have a resolution on their outfield situation (i.e., trading Upton or Jason Kubel) by Friday, but also that the Braves had stepped up with a serious offer.
Jon Heyman hears that the Braves’ are offering a “strong” package for Upton, and David O’Brien believes it’s a three or four-player package including pitcher Julio Teheran at the top (the other names do not include Andrelton Simmons or Christian Bethancourt). Obviously the package would depend greatly on those other players, but it sounds like something short of the deal the D-backs had put together with the Mariners.
We’ve been here before with Upton, who has been on the trade block since time immemorial, but this has the “feel” of something actually happening this time around.
In the meantime, the D-backs are discussing Kubel with the Orioles says Ken Rosenthal, presumably if they can’t get top dollar for Upton. But Ken adds that he sees Upton to the Braves as more likely than Kubel to the Orioles right now.
If the Braves are able to pick up Upton using their pitching depth, they’d rocket right to the top of the NL East conversation, alongside the Nationals. They’d also be clearly out on Michael Bourn, for whatever that’s worth. It seems increasingly likely that Bourn will have to settle for a one-year deal with a surprise team, or a not-so-thrilling multi-year deal with a team like the Rangers. Even with the Braves out, I still doubt his price falls far enough to take him into the Cubs’ range when considering the loss of their second round pick.
At this point, I’m rooting for Upton to go to the Braves not only to end the rumors, but also because the fallout could be fascinating (and could trickle down to the Cubs).