According Ken Rosenthal, one of my faithful sources for Jays Rumors of Fox Sports, has reported the Jays also have strong interest in outfielder Justin Upton. Rosenthal confirmed that the Blue Jays were the one "mystery" team that
The D'Backs are believed to have a very high price tag for this 23-year-old all-star asking for as many as five major league ready talents off of a roster. Depending on the talent level of the players involved, that number should go down.
An example I'll give you is the Bartolo Colon deal in 2002 with the Cleveland Indians in which they dealt for Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens in exchange for Colon and Tim Drew. The Indians dealt their staff ace just entering his prime at 29 and received the Indians top two prospects and their starting first baseman—although Lee Stevens ended up being the third wheel in the deal.
The Blue Jays, lucky enough, have the depth in the minors to trade some pretty great prospects and not really affect their long term future. However, The Jays with outfield prospects such as Anthony Gose, Jacob Marisnick, Eric Thames and you could even say Travis Snider, as a result, they are fairly loaded when it comes to outfield talent for the future. Some of them are ready now for everyday major league play such as Snider and possibly at some point this year Thames.
Upton right now—if traded for—would assume the role of right fielder and it would shift Jose Bautista to third base.
A relatively easy to see deal with the Diamondbacks would have to include Travis Snider, at least two good to great pitching prospects and possibly at least one more good prospect.
A deal that makes sense for both sides could be Travis Snider, Marc Rzepcynski, Zack Stewart and Eric Thames for Justin Upton. The Jays give up their outfielder of the future, one of their starting pitchers from last year and two top 15 prospects from their roster for Upton.
Rzepcynski, who is currently pitching the of all places, the Arizona Fall League, is pitching very close to the Diamondbacks who I'm sure are keeping close tabs on him. "Led Rzepplin" is currently 4-0 with 1.16 ERA in six games with the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League.
A steep price to pay, but one that could put the Jays over the top if they do indeed sign Manny Ramirez to be the teams DH.
The Jays however will not be the only team in hot pursuit of Upton, and not the only team in the AL East, as the Red Sox are believed to be willing to offer some pretty great players for Upton, as I've heard Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard and even Jonathon Papelbon's names bandied about. I'll add the Yankees are said to be interested, but what fun is that when the $200 million dollar payroll big wigs want in on a trade such as this.
Now, I'm trying to be realistic here, and when the likes of Upton, and even Colby Rasmus become available, at their age and skill level, the price is going to be high.
From an outsider point of view, and looking at the Diamondbacks roster, I would hazard to believe that they would ask for an elite level prospect, a pitching prospect with closing upside (since they really have no closers), another top 15 prospect and a decent starting pitcher, all of which are covered in my proposed deal to the Diamondbacks.
But if the D'Backs opt for the more flashy Red Sox deal where it may include Ellsbury and one of Papelbon or Bard, then the Jays can easily move on and say they at least tried. The Red Sox are believed to be making a very aggressive push to add Upton to their relatively aging outfield that last season included the likes of oft-injured Mike Cameron and JD Drew.
Upton last season in 495 at bats hit .273 with 17 home runs and 69 RBI and adding 17 stolen bases with Arizona last season.
Thoughts on the Jays possibly pursuing Upton and whether the Jays can put together a more attractive trade package over the likes of the Red Sox?