Quick Hits: Upton, Martin, Giants, Astros

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported over the weekend that the Braves explored a trade prior to the deadline that would’ve sent B.J. Upton and a starting pitcher elsewhere.  David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link) has another detail on this scuttled trade, saying that the Braves would’ve taken on “a contract [the] other team [was] looking to shed.”  It sounds like it would’ve essentially been a swap of one bad contract (the roughly $50MM owed to Upton through 2017) for another, though if Atlanta was willing to move a starter as well, the other contract was likely for a shorter term.  It’ll be interesting to see if the identities of the mystery team and mystery player are revealed in the coming weeks or months but until then, let the guessing game begin!

Here’s some more from around the baseball world…

  • Russell Martin‘s plan to take a short-term contract and rebuild his value for a richer, longer-term deal seems to have paid off, MLB.com’s Tom Singer and Stephen Pianovich write.  Martin has a .743 OPS over his two seasons with the Pirates and is hitting .290/.417/.391 over 308 PA this year, which makes him easily the most attractive catcher available in this winter’s free agent market.  Martin says he loves playing in Pittsburgh, though Singer/Pianovich note that the Bucs are unlikely to be able to afford his asking price and prospect Tony Sanchez is waiting in the wings.
  • The 2015 Giants could be improved by moving Buster Posey to third base and Tim Lincecum to the bullpen, Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News opines.  Lincecum’s value as a starter is diminishing but (as the 2012 postseason indicated) he could be a dominant force as a reliever or closer.  If Pablo Sandoval leaves in free agency, Kawakami argues that Posey could slide to third in order to help him stay healthy and perhaps lead to more production at the plate.  Posey already plays a lot of first base and Kawakami doesn’t mention another possibility I think the Giants could consider, which is trading Brandon Belt.
  • Speaking of next year’s Giants team, CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly points out that at least $125MM is already committed to a roster that still has a big hole to address at second base and five key free agents (Sandoval, Michael Morse, Sergio Romo, Ryan Vogelsong, Jake Peavy) to re-sign or replace.  With payroll stretched so thin both this season and next, Baggarly says the team simply doesn’t have the resources to explore replacing struggling players like Lincecum or Brandon Crawford.
  • The Astros could return to respectability by adding a few veteran players in an attempt to follow the model of the 2003 Tigers, Grantland’s Jonah Keri opines.  Those Tigers responded to an infamous 119-loss season by signing veteran free agents over the next few years, who mixed well with a young core and led the team to an AL pennant by 2006.

68 Responses to Quick Hits: Upton, Martin, Giants, Astros Leave a Reply

  1. LittleOtterPaws 12 months ago

    if I had to guess, I would have said the Red Sox were the mystery team. Its almost identical to the Craig/Kelly return they got for Lackey. Although it would take a significant starter in return for the Sox to take on Upton.

    • Ace2095 12 months ago

      I was thinking the same thing, it would of made sense if the guy was Victorino.

  2. coco1997 12 months ago

    Wonder if this was the failed three-team trade Rick Hahn revealed the Sox were close to making before the deadline.

  3. Jumbaco! 12 months ago

    Resign the Panda and trade Belt and put Posey at first. As much as I like Romo, Lincecum could be an interesting choice to be a closer

    • Wooltron 12 months ago

      Casilla is a serviceable closer. Why would you want to give a guy who hardly ever gets out of the first inning without giving up a run the closer job?

      • WillieMaysField 12 months ago

        Almost all relivers started as starters and became relivers for various reasons. No way I see the Giants converting lincecum full time to the bullpen. But the limited time he’s worked out out of the pen he’s been very good against good teams.

  4. Brian Baker 12 months ago

    maybe mystery team was Dbacks: Trevor Cahill?

    • mmiller54 12 months ago

      I was thinking the same thing.

      • Brian Baker 12 months ago

        If Gibson didn’t like Justin’s grit, he might have a heart attack with Bossman Jr.

  5. Ray Ray 12 months ago

    I am thinking the Royals swapping Jason Vargas for BJ Upton and Alex Wood or Mike Minor. Wood would be a heavy price, but getting rid of Upton would be worth it.

    • 14 Rocks 12 months ago

      Absolutely NOT!!!

      • Ray Ray 12 months ago

        Calm down just a bit, I didn’t actually make the trade. It was just a thought.

        • 14 Rocks 12 months ago

          Sorry, I was going to edit my post to say that Wood is way too good to lose just to get rid of BJ Upton Also, Vargas doesn’t have an expensive contract that the Royals would want/need to shed.

        • Rafael Bustamante 12 months ago

          What? They are in the battle for the 1st place, Vargas is doing just fine, his contract is really good due to his good performance. Besides it doesn’t make ANY sense to bring a 200/278 AVG/OBP guy in a season-long slump. Absurd

          • Ray Ray 12 months ago

            The contract is good this year, but it is a 4 year contract. I am guessing that in 2016 the Royals will be begging people to take him off their hands.

          • Rafael Bustamante 12 months ago

            Why? 8 MM$ per year for 3.50-4.00 ERA is really not bad. And he is an inning-eater too.

          • Ray Ray 12 months ago

            And kudos to them if he keeps that up. I just personally don’t expect that ERA to keep up for the life of the contract. I hope I am wrong. I don’t like to see anyone fail and it certainly wouldn’t be the first or last time I have been wrong.

  6. 14 Rocks 12 months ago

    My guess would be the Blue Jays with the Braves getting Buehrle and a bench player in return for Upton, Minor and $$$$$.

    • Why would the Jays do that?

      • 14 Rocks 12 months ago

        To get a cost controlled young pitcher for a pitcher making 20M next season. I’m guessing the Braves would kick in at least half of BJ’s salary for the last couple of years of his contract.

        • Minor is worse than Buehrle. Buehrle’s contract isn’t so bad that it’s worth taking on any portion of Upton’s.

          • 14 Rocks 12 months ago

            He’s been worse this year, but Minor had a 3.21 ERA last season. But, I see your point. I can’t imagine why any team would want BJ Upton for any amount of money.

          • Jaysfan1994 12 months ago

            People need to stop acting like someone going from a pitcher friendly ballpark would be the same going to a extreme hitter friendly ballpark. Minor wouldn’t last a week in Rogers Centre.

          • 14 Rocks 12 months ago

            Turner Field is a pitching neutral park. It is not “pitcher friendly”.

          • Jaysfan1994 12 months ago

            That’s incorrect, anything below 100 in ballpark factoring is considered pitcher friendly, Turner’s park factoring is 97. Toronto’s on the other hand is 113. You really think a pitcher who’s struggling in Atlanta would do fine in Toronto?

          • R.D. 12 months ago

            I’m pretty sure people said the same about Buehrle.
            And Dickey.

          • Jaysfan1994 12 months ago

            Mark Buehrle pitched in Chicago for years, U.S Cellular Field is the second most hitter friendly ballpark in the league. Dickey’s numbers regressed to what they were suppose to once leaving the N.L.

            Your argument carries absolutely no weight.

          • Theguy3829 12 months ago

            You still have to point out that the Blue Jays lead the league in homers.

          • Jaysfan1994 12 months ago

            Yes, and they can’t hit one outside of Rogers Center to save their lives. You should see how non-existent this team’s offense is outside of the hitter friendly AL East stadiums. Excluding Anaheim, I think they’ve scored 8 runs on the West Coast this season.

          • If Buehrle was having a so-so year and Minor was slightly better, it might work. But the Jays have a couple young starters and they need Buehrle.

    • inkstainedscribe 12 months ago

      Or Upton and Wood + $$$ for Buehrle.

      • 14 Rocks 12 months ago

        No, not Wood. The pitcher involved from the Braves side was Minor (per Rosenthal’s statement). There is no way the Braves even consider trading Wood or Teheran.

        • inkstainedscribe 12 months ago

          I was thinking more along the lines of what a deal after the season could look like, but you’re right, the deal Rosenthal was discussing involved Minor.

  7. Steve 12 months ago

    BJ for Edwin Jackson!!

    • Brian Baker 12 months ago

      I think one of the Braves beat writers suggested Cubs were the team. Makes sense, but Braves would have to give up more than Mike Minor considering the terrible year he’s had.

      Braves have Dogers and A’s for next 7 games. They may be willing to move one of the good starters if it appears they are out of it in a week or two.

    • bloodgimp 12 months ago

      Sure, but why would the Cubs do that? Why would anyone do that? I mean BJ Upton is one of the worst free agent signings in MLB history!

      • Guest 12 months ago

        Edwin Jackson signing is not much worse! All depending on what pitcher the Cubs got back

        • bloodgimp 12 months ago

          Jackson’s only got 2 years left on his contract ($22 mil vs the $45 mil left on BJ’s). But yeah, from a Braves standpoint, I guess it all depends on how much of BJ’s salary the Cubs would be willing to take on.

  8. Don 12 months ago


  9. Sabean should never have signed Lincecum to that horrendous deal. He places too much value in his own guys.

    • IdontknowwhyIpostonforums 12 months ago

      I was going to say that part of the budget being stretched so thin is due to paying $17m to a guy who is at best a 4th starter right now. I mean, Tim hasn’t really been good since 2011 and they are paying him like he still is.

  10. Big Giant Head 12 months ago

    The article neglects the fact that Russell Martin has been a godsend for the Pirates defensively. He may be the biggest factor also in the Pirates getting so much out of mediocre pitching. The guy is just good!

    • bucsws2014 12 months ago

      The article also failed to note that the Bucs can actually afford Martin at 4 years/$60mill if that’s what it would take. The Pirates have a ton of cost-controlled players for the next several years and other than 1b and some bullpen parts, what they don’t have is a catcher anywhere near Martin’s capabilities in the system, although Elias Diaz is showing more promise than expected. Regardless, Martin’s value to Pittsburgh cannot be overestimated.

      • Big Giant Head 12 months ago

        I’ve been in Pittsburgh area since 2006; before Martin the Buc’s catchers were just awful. They couldn’t throw out their own grandmas. They have to re-sign him.

  11. Jaysfan1994 12 months ago

    Willing to bet the trade was Upton/Minor for one of the Dodgers 4 corner outfielders.

    • rundmc1981 12 months ago

      But aren’t their deals just as bad (if not worse, depending on who you’re talking about: Kemp, Ethier). They would be getting Minor/Santana, but what are they going to do with another OF except to use him as trade bait and sell him off for parts?

    • CT 12 months ago

      Interesting idea, but that would still leave the Dodgers with a crowded overpaid outfield.

      • Jaysfan1994 12 months ago

        Means nothing, getting Upton would finally enable them to have a proper center fielder instead of throwing people who have no business being there in the first place.

    • bloodgimp 12 months ago

      That would make no sense. The Dodgers don’t need another outfielder (Upton).

      • Jaysfan1994 12 months ago

        They don’t need a center fielder? Are you joking? Are you guys going to throw Juan Uribe in there next week?

  12. IdontknowwhyIpostonforums 12 months ago

    Come home to LA Russell!

  13. Mike1L 12 months ago

    If we are speculating, Upton and Minor to the Phillies for Howard, but RA scuttled it when he learned it was BJ and not Justin.

    • Steve 12 months ago

      That is unrealistic. RA would have asked for Wood, Teheran and Heyward

    • northsfbay 12 months ago

      That is all the Phillies need. More large bad contracts.

    • Mike1L 12 months ago

      Just a quick comment/edit to my first posting. Steve caught my sarcasm.

  14. northsfbay 12 months ago

    It would be a big mistake for the Giants to give up on Belt. He played outfield in he minors. You could put him in the outfield.

    • ramiro magana 12 months ago

      Yeah there is no way they are trading Belt lol especially with him being under team control for another 3 years.

  15. gocrazy 12 months ago

    Could they have been thinking about bringing Michael Bourn back for BJ?

  16. The_Sports_Dude 12 months ago

    Surprised someone like Kawakami would suggest playing Posey at 3B, since he never played there in his MLB and MiLB career. He played some hot corner at Florida State, but 3B isn’t just a position you throw someone into, especially when that player seems to struggle playing 1B.

    • ramiro magana 12 months ago

      Exactly. Would be smarter to move Belt to LF since they have Morse there now and nobody could do a worse job imo. Then re-sign pablo and call it a day since they have no salary flexibility left. And I don’t understand how BAggarly says they have a big hole to fill at 2B. Panik hitting over 250. with over 100 PAs is pretty good for a rookie playing good defense.

    • rundmc1981 12 months ago

      Well, Posey did play every position at FSU, including all 9 in a single game.

    • WillieMaysField 12 months ago

      I think the instincts are there. He did play SS at Florida state. I would be surprised if the giants add another 100m contract to the payroll (panda), there going to have to play rooks next year to keep from blowing the budget up.

  17. Phillyfan425 12 months ago

    I might get destroyed for it, but I’ve got a proposal for you Giants fans – although, it’d have to happen in the offseason.

    Marlon Byrd + Antonio Bastardo for Tim Lincecum, Ty Blach, Clayton Blackburn, and Gary Brown (looking for a change of scenery)

    Byrd and Bastardo would replace Morse and Romo (to an extent), and the salaries would work out pretty well (compared to this year). And you’d save $18 M for getting rid of Lincecum (to spend it on Sandoval – or a pitcher or two if you’d like). Phillies get 2 good pitching prospects (in Blach and Blackburn) from a system who usually produces good pitchers and take a chance on Gary Brown. Plus, we need starting pitchers next year (and Lincecum is only signed for 1 more year), and if taking on Lincecum could meaning netting that group, I’d be ok with that. I know I’m probably reaching asking for Blach AND Blackburn – those just seemed the two logical places to start.

  18. King Richard 12 months ago

    My guess is Bossman and Minor for Cliff Lee (Lee meets the earlier reported criteria of Atlanta feeling they weren’t getting enough value back (with Lee’s current injury situation). Also makes sense because Upton visited Philly on his free agent tour before signing and they still need a CF. Also meets what said above: the other contract was shorter in length.

  19. Wooltron 12 months ago

    Moving Lincecum to the bullpen is a horrible idea. Granted, he isn’t a very good starter either but he rarely gets out of the first unscathed. Not exactly the kind of shut down arm you want coming out of the pen in a tight spot, or to close games. In the games he does pitch well in he frequently doesn’t find his command until about the third inning. I know it worked in the playoffs but I don’t see him having any sustained success in that roll, or any other for that matter.

  20. Not being able to retain Martin would just strengthen the narrative about the Pirates FO and being ‘cheap’. As for Tony Sanchez? If he’s your catcher of the future, good luck with that

  21. R.D. 12 months ago

    The players that came to mind for me were Sabathia and Nolasco. Both seem to be in the doghouse and the Braves could really use an experienced arm to eat up innings.

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