2010-11 Free Agency

Trade Option: Justin Upton

During the early stages of the winter, we’ll take a look at some of the options possibly available on the trade market that might intrigue the Phillies. With the Jayson Werth situation looming large, some of these players may or may not be a good fit for the Phils.

Playing in the desert has kept him from becoming a household name, but Justin Upton is nearly there. Could a trade change that?

The Arizona Diamondbacks are reportedly gauging interest on their 23-year old outfielder, one of the premier youngsters in baseball. Would the Phillies have interest? Absolutely. Would they have what it takes to get pry him from the D’Backs? Highly unlikely.

Multiple reports have the Diamondbacks asking for four or five players in any trade for their burgeoning superstar, including up to three which would be major league ready. Jon Heyman of SI.com says an American League executive called the asking price “ridiculous.” As of now, there have been no reports linking the Phils to the D’Backs rightfielder, but that doesn’t mean the Phillies haven’t at least asked about him.

Upton would be a best-case scenario replacement should Jayson Werth leave town. The 2010 season was a bit of a down year for B.J.’s younger bro, as he hit just .273 with 17 home runs and 69 RBI. Upton had a breakout in 2009 with a .300 average to go with 26 homers and 86 RBI. It was a bit of a step backward however, he’s a guy many are willing to take a shot on. If the price is right.

Upton is dealing with an injury that could scare some teams away – he has a torn labrum in his shoulder that is not in need of surgery. His contract is rather friendly – he signed for six-years and $51 million before last season – but the haul Arizona will seek has some wondering if anyone but the Red Sox or Yankees will be able to afford it. Beyond the prospects, would it be worth it for the Phillies, or many other teams for that matter, to pay for two seasons of Upton. In 2016, Upton will be a free agent and could seek near $20 million per season.

The Phillies could use a youthful infusion with a guy like Upton adding to the impending breakthrough of Dominic Brown. The only problem is, Upton would cost the Phillies Brown and then some. Pillaging the farm system yet again doesn’t seem to be the brightest idea, although some argue Upton would be worth it. If the price drops some, look for Ruben to put his nose in the race, although it’s still a long-shot. At the very least, a trade to Boston would send Jayson Werth’s price down a bit.

CHANCES: Very, very low. Upton is a fine, young talent, but it’s unlikely the Phillies have what it takes to snag him from the lowly Diamondbacks. I give it one Ruben head out of 10 that Upton becomes a Phillie.

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