Could the Boston Red Sox Turn Jacoby Ellsbury into Justin Upton?
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With a month to go before pitchers and catchers report, it looks like the Boston Red Sox are almost done with building their team.
The Arizona Diamondbacks tried to deal Upton to the Seattle Mariners earlier this month, a deal that Upton eventually blocked, according to this report from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi.
Fox Sports' Morosi then speculated that this would be a golden opportunity for the New York Yankees to try to swing a deal for Upton by trading Curtis Granderson, a player with one year left on his deal.
My thought is if the Yankees could look at trading Granderson with one year left on his deal, then the Red Sox should be looking at moving Ellsbury with one year left on his deal, especially if they land a player like Upton.
Part of the thought here is that Ellsbury might be very receptive to a trade to Seattle and signing an extension with the Mariners. Ellsbury is from that area of the country and attended Oregon State for college.
The reason that he might be open to signing an extension now is that this has been an extremely rough winter for Scott Boras and his clients.
At this moment, Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse still remain unsigned a month before spring training.
Teams have become very reluctant to lose their first-round draft picks and also the money that would taken from the draft pick pool in order to sign free-agent players.
The deal initially looked solid at two years and $28 million. ESPN's Jim Bowden revealed that $14 million of the deal was being deferred until 2018, showing that Soriano had to make a huge concession to get another deal.
If Ellsbury has a great season in 2013, then he would obviously be signed by a number of teams in need of his talents. But, given his injury history and the market this winter for Michael Bourn, he might be more receptive to signing with the Mariners.
The Red Sox could ship Ellsbury to the Mariners. The Mariners would then ship a similar package to the Diamondbacks from the initially proposed trade, and the D'Backs would then send Upton to the Red Sox.
The Sox are on Upton's no-trade list, but it is believed that is simply a bargaining tool to engage the Sox in a contract extension. Upton, between the trade to the Mariners and the recent talks with the Cubs (detailed in this report from ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine), has to realize that he is going to be dealt.
It is unlikely that the D'Backs would want to go to spring training with the constant distraction of Upton trade rumors.
Would you move Ellsbury for Upton?
The Diamondbacks would make the deal because they have unnecessarily put themselves in a corner by signing Cody Ross before trading Upton.
Reviving a deal that would net them Taijuan Walker, and other players mentioned in the initial trade (detailed in this report by CBS Sports' Scott Miller), would be a good move for them at this point.
Seattle would make the move because it would be receiving a potential impact offensive weapon in Ellsbury, albeit with a different skill set than Upton.
Ellsbury would be more open to signing in Seattle, and the Mariners must feel they can compete in the AL West against the weakened Texas Rangers, division-winning Oakland A's and enigmatic L.A. Angels.
Boston would make the move because it would be potentially getting the best player in the deal, moving the 29-year-old Ellsbury for the 25-year-old Upton, someone who has yet to tap his unlimited potential.
Upton would be the Sox's best RF since Dwight Evans, and he would have an extremely reasonable three years and $38.5 million remaining on his deal. Even if the Sox had to extend him, it shouldn't be a deal breaker.
The Sox have the recently signed Shane Victorino that they could slide into center field and keep the spot warm until prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. is ready.
The Sox don't need to do anything right now, but Boston general manager Ben Cherington could surprise everyone by being bold.
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