There’s probably nothing baseball fans talk about more in the four month black hole that lasts between the final game of the World Series or the first pitch of spring training (or, for you diehards, the first pitch of the 2013 World Baseball Classic) than potential trade rumors.
If you sit back and think about it, it makes sense. Baseball, at its core, is about winning and losing. It’s been like this since Adam struck Eve with an olive branch and then Eve got up and chucked an apple at Adam and…wait…
Anyway, these days, with the insane amount of media attention and fan attention and…gasp! blog attention! baseball isn’t just for the summer and fall months! These days there are twelve long months of baseball, or if you enjoy quartering things like watermelons, there four seasons in baseball. These days there is the Spring Training Season, the Regular Season, the Post Season, and the Off Season. If my math is right, those equal to the sum of four. And in those four seasons there are various stages of winning and losing. In Spring Training the winning and losing is more about players winning or losing position battles than traditional winning and losing which is more commonly found, say, in the Regular Season. In the Postseason those wins and losses take the elevator up to the second floor where they are scrutinized under a microscope and broken down into tiny sample size bites of pure chocolate goodness. What fun!
But those seasons are not what we are currently experiencing right now. What we are experiencing right now is the Off Season which is kind of like Winter which kind of means that baseball isn’t really being played, or at least, it won’t be considered to being played until all major league teams play in domed stadiums which is…totally another topic for another time. Anyway, basically there aren’t any games being played right now which is completely different than any other season in baseball in which games are, in some fashion, being played. So how do we associate winning and losing with the Off Season? Well, in the Off Season there are Free Agents Signing with Different Teams and Players being Traded to Different Teams. Notice how I capitalized certain letters in the above sentence? Well that was just for fun, there wasn’t any reason behind it other than to type this sentence. Anyway, with baseball players switching sides in this season of baseball the media and fans and bloggers (who are kind of a hybrid of fan slash media types if you think about it, which is why they (uh we) are mentioned separately from the others) like to assign “Wins” and “Losses” to the teams which are involved or not involved in these Off Season moves. And with any sort of victory or defeat we tend to analyze what happened or what could have happened, which leads us, finally, to the crux of our discussion. Trade Rumors. Free Agent Rumors. Outrighted to Triple A Rumors. Basically, this is all we have that isn’t reviewing or predicting at this time of year so we squeeze every rumor for all it’s worth.
Which brings us, nearly 550 words into this, to an actual name that is associated with the Detroit Tigers.
Here, I have proof that actual people are actually talking about these two subjects in actual sentences:
Kevin Towers asked if he will need to have socks knocked off to trade Justin Upton. KT lifted up foot to reveal … he was not wearing socks.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 8, 2012
Besides the fact that I am glad to know Jon Morosi is aware of Kevin Towers undergarment comings and goings how does this help us determine a link between Justin Upton and the Detroit Tigers? Well here’s ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:
While Justin Upton’s name makes the rounds as trade candidate, sources say #dbacks will also listen on pitcher Trevor Bauer
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 7, 2012
Hmmm. I don’t see anything linking the Tigers to Upton, just the Diamondbacks trying to get rid of really really good young talent for no real reason yet again. I think I’ll go over to my buddy Jim Bowden of Sirius XM and ESPN:
The rumor of a Justin Upton deal to Det in a package that included Castellanos, A.Garcia & Smyly definitely makes sense if Dbacks add piece
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) November 8, 2012
Oh. Hey. There it is. There’s an actual link between Upton and Detroit, although to me, and this is my humble opinion, that is the worst possible deal in the world for Detroit if that other Arizona piece isn’t Trevor Bauer.
I’m told the Tigers are doing due diligence on Upton, doing background work on him. Don’t know if they’ve talked specifics with Dbacks.
— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) November 8, 2012
And there’s my man Nicky P tweeting about this link between Upton and the Tigers giving us the fuel we all need to talk about Justin Upton wearing the Old English D in 2013 and making $38.5 million clams over the next three seasons all while giving up two or three of the best prospects in the system.
I mean, pretty simple, really.
Let’s trade any combination of Nick C and Avisail G and Smyly D for Upton who has a career .250/.325/.406/.731 away from Arizona
Let’s trade any combination of any of those aforementioned prospects, who, by the way, could all contribute in Detroit next year for a guy who only hit 17 dingers and 24 doubles in 628 plate appearances and played in a ballpark that is more hitter friendly than Comerica Park.
Look. Justin Upton is exciting. He has five tools and he’s certainly a better player than anyone Detroit ran out in right field last year. He’s going to turn 26 in August next year. He’s athletic when most Detroit players aren’t.
If he were a free agent I wouldn’t play the sarcasm card as heavily as I have above. Upton is a quality player but comes with a heavy price on two fronts that I’m not completely sure Tigers management would be willing to part with.
Take a look at three outfielders on the Free Agent market who are comparable to Upton and would cost roughly the same dollar-wise and allow the Tigers to keep their cost effective youth in house.
To compare lets use some stats over the last three years.
Justin Upton. 2013 Age: 26. 90 2B, 65 HR, 57 SB, .281/.361/.469/.830
Nick Swisher. 2013 Age: 32. 99 2B, 76 HR, 5 SB, .274/.366/.478/.844
B.J. Upton. 2013 Age: 28. 94 2B, 69 HR, 109 SB, .242/.317/.436/.753
Torii Hunter. 2013 Age: 37. 84 2B, 62 HR, 23 SB, .285/.351/.448./800
Nick Swisher, the switch-hitting right fielder who turns 32 this month is my personal choice for the Tigers to sign to a three year deal. He’s the perfect two hitter for this team. He’s not fast but he’s always on base and he can run the bases with anyone. His age would be a concern if he made his money running, which he doesn’t. The only thing Upton has on him is speed, and with the Tigers, speed is an option (look at Austin Jackson for example).
B.J. Upton is the older version of Justin and where he lacks in on base ability he makes up for in speed, which, if you paid any sort of attention to the graf above you’d know the Tigers don’t really care for. If you don’t trust me, trust Lee Panas. Do you really see them flipping a 360 on these stats in one year? I don’t. Upton probably wants a five or six year deal. Upton is also a center fielder, but I’d still rather have the Tigers try to talk him into moving over to Right Field and play him and Jackson at an extreme left shift next year than give up any of Castellanos, Garcia, or Smyly for his younger brother.
And finally, Torii Hunter. The old guy. He certainly is a risk and make the Tigers a bit older, but he would most likely be the cheapest option since the Angels didn’t tender him a qualifying offer last week and he could slide into Right Field for a year until Castellanos or Garcia are ready to contribute.
I don’t know about you -actually most of you are telling me that Upton is worth trading the moon for so I’m probably going to get a lot of arguments over this but that’s what the Off Season is for!- but i just cant see Detroit trading for Upton, especially not at the price of two bats and an arm. Arizona wants, allegedly now, a third baseman, short stop, and/or a starting pitcher. If the Tigers can give them Peralta and Porcello I’d say do it. Its not about the player as much as it is about relative cost compared to the cost of what else is available. If the Tigers trade for him and give up Castellanos and Garcia and Smyly, so be it. I’ll root my ass off for him but until then, I offer a bit of warning. A similar type player can be had for a similar cost without giving up the best legitimate prospects of the farm system.