It was reported Saturday that the Arizona Diamondbacks had agreed to terms with free-agent outfielder Cody Ross. This signing narrows an already thin free-agent outfielder market.
Throughout the offseason, D-back outfielders Justin Upton and Jason Kubel have been discussed as possible trade bait. With the signing of Ross, the Diamonbacks now have an excess of outfielders, which reopens that possibility.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, it looks more likely that Kubel will be traded. However, Upton’s name has been mentioned in several trade possibilities.
Kubel would not be a fit for the Philadelphia Phillies, as he is a left-handed bat and primarily a left fielder. It is assumed that Darin Ruf will be taking most of the playing time in left field for the Phillies.
Upton, on the other hand, would be a great fit. He is a right-handed right fielder with the ability to hit for power. He is an excellent defender with a great deal of speed. He is also only 25 years old. His addition would make the aging Phillies younger.
The biggest question is what the D-backs would be looking for in return. Upton is a proven All-Star-caliber player, and the Phillies have traded away most of their most attractive trade targets already this offseason.
A few of the players the Phillies could include in a trade are Domonic Brown, Tyler Cloyd and Michael Schwimer. The Phillies could also include a prospect package in the deal, which would likely include catcher Sebastian Valle.
The Phillies have not been actively looking to trade any of their other prospects, but they may see the possibility of acquiring Upton as a proper time to make such a deal.
Brown has been an extremely inconsistent player in his three stints in the majors. He does not carry the trade value that he once did, which means he alone would not be enough to get Upton.
For a long time, the Phillies refused to include Brown in any deal, but they been frustrated with his performance. If the Phillies were able to acquire Upton in a deal that included Brown, it would certainly be worth doing.
In 2012, Upton hit .280 with 17 home runs and 67 RBI. He also had 63 walks and 18 stolen bases. The Phillies park is much more hitter-riendly than Chase Field in Arizona. Upton would also be under team control through the 2015 season and would be making just over $9 million this season.
The price for the Phillies to acquire Upton would probably be high, but the rewards would be worth the price. It just depends on whether the D-backs would like what the Phillies have to offer.
If they like acquiring Brown as a fourth or fifth outfielder, along with a bullpen arm (Schwimer) and a catching prospect (Valle), the Phillies would have themselves a good deal.
The D-backs have sought on several occasions to deal Upton, and it would behoove the Phillies to acquire him at this time. It would help the D-backs remove a player they have been looking to deal, while also filling a hole in the Phillies' lineup that has been a cause of great concern.
The Phillies should make this deal. Upton could be the answer the Phillies have been seeking in right field, ever since it was vacated by Jayson Werth.