Could Justin Upton be the bat Cashman is looking for?
The Arizona Diamondbacks have once again opened up discussion about the possibility of trading star outfielder Justin Upton. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, their specific demands have changed this time around.
Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com have named the New York Yankees as one of four teams expressing interest in the 25-year-old.
The fact that the Yankees might be in on a player of Upton's talents should come as no real surprise as they are always going to check in.
What gives this rumor some legs is a recent statement GM Brian Cashman gave to Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News.
“Obviously, we need a right-hander because we have all these outfielders who are lefthanded,” Cashman said. “You can get them through trades and free agency, but it’s a limited market and it might not define itself anytime soon.”
Cashman would also go on to say that acquiring a right-handed outfielder as "the most important thing" left.
When you combine Cashman's needs with Arizona's desire, a trade seems to be a perfect match.
The competition to land Upton would be tough as other teams interested would have more to offer in terms of ready-now prospects. However, if Cashman were able to execute a deal for Upton it would be the major splash Yanks fans have been waiting for all offseason.
Landing Upton would mean getting that right-handed bat on the team to balance the lefty heavy lineup.
It would also mean bringing in a player with significant youth and talent. At only 25, Upton is already a two-time All-Star. In 2011, he hit 31 home runs and stole 21 bases.
He finished fourth in the NL MVP voting. He was only 23.
Upton dealt with injuries most of last season and struggled to hit with power as his homers dropped to 17. Despite the lack of power he still batted .280 on the season.
Put that average on the Yanks in 2012 and he would have trailed only Jeter and Cano as everyday players.
In order to get Upton the Yankees would more than likely have to part with Granderson from their everyday lineup and several of their top prospects.
The loss of Granderson wouldn't be that big considering he will enter free agency at the end of the season and probably be looking for a long-term contract the Yankees would likely pass on.
Upton is signed currently through 2015. He salary does balloon past $14 million in 2014, but if he becomes the player the Yankees envision that price would be more than affordable.
The likelihood the Yankees get Upton seems low based off the pieces they could afford to give up. But if they were to land him the Yanks would now have two cornerstone hitters in their lineup when including Cano.
With Cano's pending free agency, having a player of Upton's youth and ability also could lessen the loss if they were not able to bring Cano back to the ballclub.
If a right-handed outfielder truly is "most important," then Yanks fans should really hope Cashman is making a trip out to Arizona before its too late.