Justin Upton Rumors: Tigers Should Not Trade Best Prospect for Star OF

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 8, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 02:  Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the Colorado Rockies during the MLB game at Chase Field on October 2, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies 5-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A collection of teams have been rumored to be in the running for Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton this offseason, but the Detroit Tigers would be making a big mistake adding the two-time All-Star.

Jim Bowden of ESPN tweeted on Thursday:

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


Of course, whether the trade would "make sense" is up for debate.

Nick Castellanos is the Tigers' best prospect right now. A shortstop in high school, he has since played at third base and outfield in the minors.

Last season, Castellanos hit .405 with three home runs, 32 RBI and 37 runs in 215 at-bats for Class A Advanced Lakeland, then hit .264 with five home runs, 25 RBI and 35 runs in 322 at-bats for Double-A Erie.

Remember, Castellanos—the No. 44 overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft—is just 20 years old. He still has plenty of room to grow and improve. The fact that he destroyed at Lakeland, prompting a move up to Eerie in June, shows that Castellanos could be a good one down the line.

Upton's inconsistency is what should worry Tigers fans. He's always been capable of a being a five-tool, All-Star player, but last season he hit .280 with 17 home runs and an OPS of .785 after hitting .289 with 31 home runs and an OPS of .898 in 2011.

On top of that, Upton had a WAR of 2.1 last season after a WAR of 5.7 in 2011.

This is nothing new, of course. Upton regressed in 2010 after a brilliant year in 2009. 

The reality is, Upton has consistently shown that he's inconsistent throughout his career. There is no telling whether he will excel or flop in 2013. That kind of uncertainty is not what the Tigers need, especially after making it to the World Series this year.

Despite losing the World Series this year, the Tigers have a good thing going with the pitching staff as well as Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder hitting back-to-back. Adding Upton has the potential to disrupt what they have built. You only have to ask the Los Angeles Dodgers what happened when they traded for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford in August.

The saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

The Tigers would be wise to heed this advice and keep one of their budding young prospects.


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