The Mets are up in the air about bringing back 34-year-old center fielder Andres Torres, but they should not hesitate to sign Upton as soon as possible.
With the release of left fielder Jason Bay and possibly Torres, the Mets could lower the average age of their fielders from 28 to 26.2, including Upton, which would help New York for years to come.
During his time with Tampa Bay, Upton was a very consistent player. He had at least 125 hits and 50 RBI in six straight seasons. Torres had his best year with the 2010 San Francisco Giants. He had 16 home runs, 63 RBI and a .268 batting average, all career highs.
Upton is also a great fielder as he holds a .989 fielding percentage and 24 errors while playing in the outfield. He has also recorded 15 double plays, including four in 2012. Torres has a higher career fielding percentage at .993, but he only has eight double plays.
The Mets would also benefit from Upton’s speed on the bases. He tied for 14th in the league with 31 stolen bases in 2012. Upton has 232 career stolen bases, 22nd among all active players. He has five consecutive years of at least 30 stolen bases. Third baseman David Wright led the Mets with only 15 stolen bases; next was Torres with 13.
Three out of the four teams in the NL East have made contact with Upton, the Braves, Phillies and Nationals. Sandy Alderson and the Mets need to get involved in the Upton talks if they want to compete in 2013 and beyond.
Which free agent outfielder will sign first?
According to CBS Sports, Upton is the third-ranked outfielder in this year’s free-agent class, behind Josh Hamilton and Michael Bourn. As a result, he has a high price according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
5 yrs/$75M figure bandied about for Upton & Bourn might be accurate for Upton, but Bourn and agent Boras are asking for more $ than that.
— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) November 18, 2012
However, Upton is well worth the money. He is only 28 years old and, despite is on-field past, would benefit from going to a big-market team like the Mets.
While many teams are looking at Hamilton or Bourn, the Mets can make a splash in the National League by signing Upton. He is younger than both players, cheaper and an all-around player. He can hit the ball for power and contact, play center field exceptionally well and when on base, he can get into scoring position on his own.
The NL East is getting more competitive year after year and the Mets are falling behind. Signing Upton would have many eyes on New York and not for the Yankees.