Jun 16, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres left fielderJustin Upton
(10) hits a sacrifice RBI as he breaks his bat grounding into a double play during the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
With the San Diego Padres looking like a disaster at 39-48, rookie general manager A.J. Preller has already fired manager Bud Black. With the move failing to turn his club around, Preller might be forced to bite the bullet and sell.
Preller has a ton of money invested in veterans like Matt Kemp, James Shields, and Melvin Upton Jr. He strip-mined his farm system during the winter to load up for the 2015 season. With the strategy a failure, Preller needs to salvage what he can and start over.
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Justin Upton becomes his number one sell-now candidate, since the soon to be 27-year-old outfielder is in the final year of his contract. Preller needs to sell Upton now, or else lose him for a compensation pick in free agency this winter.
Upton is one of the most potent bats that figures to be available on the trade market. He’s hitting .259/.338/.434 with 10 doubles, 14 home runs, and 46 RBI’s. For his career, Justin Upton has a more impressive .273/.353/.473 triple slash with 178 home runs.
You’re not getting that outfield power anywhere else. However, Upton has a -5.2 DEF as a corner outfielder. Alex Gordon he is not, but you can soften the defensive blow by using Jarrod Dyson in left if the KC Royals take a late-inning lead.
Justin Upton also brings patience to the plate. His career walk rate of 10.2% compares favorably to Gordon’s career 9.7% rate.
However, Upton hits right-handed, which might unbalance the lineup. And, the problem is that Upton figures to be either expensive in: 1) prospects, or 2) bad contracts that Preller might want a trade partner to absorb.
I just don’t see Dayton Moore paying that price for a bat that might be in decline.
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