Could Justin Upton patrol RF in Fenway next season?
The Arizona Diamondbacks are "actively discussing" OF Justin Upton according to this post by Mike Axisa at MLBtraderumors.com, and the Boston Red Sox are rumored to be one of the teams interested in acquiring him according to this report from FoxSports' Ken Rosenthal.
Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald says that the Red Sox "will be in the mix" for trade talks for Justin Upton. He also later tweeted that Upton would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to Boston.
The Red Sox have minor league pitchers, Jacoby Ellsbury, a catching surplus, minor league shortstops and major league bullpen arms to offer.
The Diamondbacks would want a starting pitcher and a shortstop or third baseman.
Where do they match up? The Red Sox aren't trading Jon Lester or Will Middlebrooks. The Red Sox don't have a major-league ready SS or 3B outside of Middlebrooks that the D'Backs would want. Arizona has young minor-league pitching already.
Trading one year of Jacoby Ellsbury for three seasons of Justin Upton doesn't make any sense, either.
When looking at a trade between both teams, the only thing that would really make sense would be a trade centered around Clay Buchholz for Justin Upton.
And I'm not sure that makes sense for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox need to add pitching this offseason, not trade it away, even for someone as tantalizing as Justin Upton.
The money changing hands would be almost the same between the players. Upton has three years and $38.5 million remaining on his deal. Buchholz has three years and $25.2 million remaining on his contract with two option years.
If Buchholz pitches well in the Nation League, the D'Backs would pick up the last two seasons of his contract at a total of $26.5 million. Pretty reasonable for No. 2 starter.
Both players have been inconsistent in their careers, showing flashes that have intrigued their teams and the remainder of the league, but never quite lived up to their billings.
The Red Sox would probably have to add in something to account for the differences in age and potential. Red Sox' 21-year-old 3B prospect Garin Cecchini would likely become the long-term third baseman in the desert by 2014.
Should the Red Sox trade for Justin Upton?
If the Red Sox were to include one or two of the numerous players, they are likely to lose through the Rule 5 Draft, and it might be enough for the Diamondbacks to make a move.
Buchholz would slot into the Arizona rotation with Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley and Tyler Skaggs, and allow Daniel Hudson the normal time to recover from Tommy John surgery.
It would also protect the Diamondbacks if they felt they would be unable to sign Kennedy to a long-term contract.
Upton would slot right into the middle of the Red Sox order with David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks. If Jacoby Ellsbury remains in Boston next season, the Red Sox offense would remain very potent.
Upton has a swing tailor-made for Fenway Park and would immediately remind fans of a young Jim Rice with his power potential.
We'll see how motivated the Diamondbacks are to move Upton this winter.
All statistic are used from Baseball-Reference.com.