MLB Trade Rumors: 5 Reasons Why a BJ Upton, Ian Desmond Swap Is a Win-Win

Ryan C. SmithContributor IIIJuly 30, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: 5 Reasons Why a BJ Upton, Ian Desmond Swap Is a Win-Win

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    It has been rumored for months that the Nationals have been looking into acquiring BJ Upton, and just recently it has been revealed that the Rays have interesting in Ian Desmond. It is my belief that a swap of the two (with varying prospects on both sides) would be beneficial for both clubs. 

    I'll be upfront with you, as a Nationals fan, I never really liked the idea of a BJ Upton trade for the Nationals until just recently, but now I can see now why a deal for BJ Upton could be a great deal for the Nationals. I also now see why the Rays acquiring Ian Desmond could be just as beneficial for Tampa Bay.

    Both players have struggled to live up to their potential, with Upton doing it over a significantly longer period of time. 

    Both players are also well under 30 and have seriously deep potential and possess multiple "tools", such as speed, defense and arm strength.

    Here are my 5 reasons that a Desmond, Upton swap would be a win-win for both teams: 

1. A Permanent Spot Will Open Up for Desmond Jennings

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    24-year old Desmond Jennings has spent the bulk of three pro seasons with AAA Durham waiting for his chance to play with the big league club for more than a "cup of coffee" and was just recently recalled to join the Rays for just the second time in his career.

    The problem is that the Rays outfield still contains the likes of Upton, Joyce, Fuld, and at times, Damon and Zobrist (typically DH and 2B respectively). Trading Upton would open up a spot in a crowded outfield for the team's top hitting prospect to try and hold down a spot that he has rightfully earned through his production and tenure at Durham. 

2. Nationals Can Audition Potential Lead-off Hitter, Stephen Lombardozzi

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    Nationals lead-off hitters have hit a dismal .197, with an equally depressing .297 OBP.

    Trading Ian Desmond for BJ Upton allows the Nationals to recall 2B/SS Stephen Lombardozzi from AAA Syracuse to play 2B and lead-off (Espinosa shifts to SS, which is his natural position) and Upton slots into CF.

    Lombardozzi is hitting .318 with 3 HRs and 18 RBI  and a .360 OBP since being called up to AAA just over a month ago and he has improved as he has risen to each new level in the Nationals system.

3. Both Players Would Become Close to Home

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    BJ Upton is from the Virginia Beach area and is a childhood friend of Ryan Zimmerman (along with David Wright) and a trade to DC would bring him closer to home. 

    Ian Desmond grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and a trade to Tampa would bring him close to home as well. 

    A trade with both players as centerpieces would be both highly coincidental, and heartwarming considering that both would be close to home.  

4. Both Players Receive a Fresh Start

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    It's simple; Ian Desmond would move into a line-up with much better hitters who can relieve the pressure imposed on him, allowing him to start fresh and become a solid contributor.

    BJ Upton would move into a clubhouse with his childhood friend and star 3B Ryan Zimmerman, while staying close to home and would become a member of an organization containing a bright future centered around Zimmerman, Werth, Strasburg, Harper, and others.

    A change of scenery could and would likely be big for both players.

5. Desmond Will Be Playing for a Contender

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    Its hard enough being a young ML player trying to make your mark, but its even harder when you are young player on a losing team and feel the need to "press" and do more than you have to.

    I know from watching Ian Desmond that he has excellent defensive and above average offensive potential as a middle infielder. He has amazing range, but will botch "easy" plays and dazzle you with great diving stops and strong accurate throws. He is also capable of being a .260-.270 hitter and drive in 60+ runs on a poor offensive club.

    I could only imagine what he would do on a club where he is just one of the guys and where he can simply be himself as a player. Being on a winning ball-club with a bright future would likely do wonders for "Desy", who will have a bright future if he could simply relax and enjoy himself.

    It is also worth noting that Desmond is seen as a strong clubhouse presence/leader for the Nationals, despite his being just a 2nd year player.

In Conclusion:

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    A deal centered around Desmond and Upton would be a great thing for both clubs as they would fill a hole on each club and both players would receive a fresh start close to home.

    In my opinion any deal would have more players heading to Tampa. It would be something like:

    Rays Receive:


    1B Prospect (Chris Marrero?)


    Nationals Receive:


    Low-Level SP Prospect