Well, we have our first real official trade of the offseason.
The Diamondbacks didn’t waste any time opening up their outfield logjam today, trading Chris Young to the Oakland A’s as part of a three-team trade involving the Miami Marlins, as reported by MLB.com.
This might cut down on the rumors of Justin Upton being traded this offseason, or this might cause the trade fires to burn more brightly.
Many things stand out from this trade.
Looking at it from the Arizona perspective, Justin Upton may not be going anywhere after all.
This trade opens CF for prospect Adam Eaton to take over and bat leadoff. Upton can continue in RF, and the D’Backs are then left to decide whether to go with offense (Jason Kubel) or defense (Gerardo Parra) in left field.
By trading Young and taking back Heath Bell, the Diamondbacks are saving about $3 million in salary according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, which they can redirect to other areas. The Marlins are paying about $8 million of Bell’s remaining contract, making Bell (at $6.5 million per year) a valuable commodity if he can regain his All-Star form.
Arizona will also receive 28-year-old SS Cliff Pennington from Oakland. Pennington will likely factor into the D’Backs shortstop mix for the 2013 season. Pennington had a poor regular season for Oakland but was excellent during the playoffs this past year.
Will Justin Upton be traded?
From the Miami perspective, according to mlbtraderumors, it looks to be a salary dump by the Marlins for a player that was touted last winter as a key piece coming into Miami. Bell had a terrible year in 2012, pitching to a 5.09 ERA, and he had only 19 saves. But in his prior three seasons in San Diego, he recorded over 40 saves each year. With how volatile the reliever and closer market is, he could easily regain his form in 2013 and have real value.
The other aspect from the Marlins side is the indication that Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen may return for the 2013 season. Bell and Guillen clashed last season, and Bell was one of Guillen’s most vocal critics, so by removing Bell it may signal that the Marlins are going to give Guillen one more season to turn things around. Miami did receive a prospect in the deal, but it looks to be mostly clearing salary and cleaning out the clubhouse.
The Oakland A's side is very interesting. By trading for Chris Young, the A’s will have four quality outfielders under contract for 2013. Arizona only kicked $500K into the deal, meaning that Young will cost Oakland $8 million next season.
Do the A’s sell high on Josh Reddick, who struggled down the stretch in 2012? Does Oakland plan on rotating all of the outfielders through the DH position? Is Coco Crisp trade bait all of a sudden?
A’s manager Bob Melvin used to be Young’s manager in Arizona, during which time Young had two of his best seasons. Maybe Young can be a productive player again for Melvin in Oakland.
The MLB hot stove has started already. Great news for everyone looking ahead to next season.