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Justin Upton Rumors
The Braves are close to acquiring Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). The teams are still working through the final details of the deal, which will send Randall Delgado to Arizona.
If the Braves complete a deal for Upton, they'll have a new-look outfield that will also feature B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward. Justin's older brother signed with Atlanta as a free agent earlier in the offseason, agreeing to a five-year, $75.2MM contract. Both Upton brothers bat right-handed and would add balance to what had previously been a lefty-heavy lineup.
This post was first published on January 24th, 2013.
The latest from ESPN.com's Buster Olney…
- If the Mariners’ attempt to acquire Justin Upton had been successful, Seattle would have traded John Jaso to Oakland as part of the deal, Olney reports (on Twitter). Instead, Upton blocked the proposed trade and the A's acquired Jaso in a three-way trade with Washington.
- The Diamondbacks continue to weigh offers for Upton and Jason Kubel, Olney reports (Twitter links). The Diamondbacks want to deal one of the outfielders sooner rather than later and they feel as though there’s a good chance of getting “suitable value” for Kubel if they decide to deal him.
- Rival executives view the Orioles as a possible match for Kubel, Olney reports (Twitter links). In Olney's view the Rays are another potential destination for Kubel.
- The 2002 Braves and the 1995 Indians had some of the best outfields in baseball history, Olney wrote at his Insider-only blog today.
The Mariners continue discussing an extension with Felix Hernandez, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The sides aren’t close to a deal, and are now “dancing.” However, Seattle is at least considering a four-year, $100MM offer, according to Rosenthal. It’s not clear if the Mariners have offered a nine-figure deal to Hernandez, whose current contract expires at the end of the 2014 season. The 26-year-old Octagon client would presumably want a longer commitment, as Rosenthal points out. Here are more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB…
- The Mariners’ willingness to add veterans approaching free agency suggests GM Jack Zduriencik senses an urgency to win now in the view of some rival executives.
- Justin Upton won’t be traded for Chase Headley, an official from one of the teams involved told Rosenthal. Headley is two years away from free agency, however, and Rosenthal suggests that the Padres figure to move him eventually. Upton, another trade candidate, is under contract through 2015.
- The Diamondbacks and Rangers haven’t revived Upton-centered trade talks since the Mariners’ failed attempt at acquiring the 25-year-old right fielder. Rosenthal reports that the sides agreed to “move on.” When the teams were last in contact the Rangers offered a four-played package led by Mike Olt that would have included shortstop prospect Leury Garcia and either Martin Perez or Cody Buckel plus a fourth prospect.
- The Rangers continue pondering one significant move. They are viewed as possible destinations for Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn, and could also pursue relief help. The Rangers discussed right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard with the Nationals earlier this offseason, Rosenthal reports.
- The Nationals could trade Clippard or Drew Storen now that they’ve signed Rafael Soriano. One rival executive suggested Washington could sign Lohse, but Rosenthal writes that a deal with free agent right-hander Javier Vazquez seems more likely.
It was on this date in 1871 the Boston Red Stockings incorporated giving birth to today's Atlanta Braves. Let's take a look at the news from the 21st century Braves and the rest of the National League:
- The Braves have enough payroll space to add one significant salary and have yet to rule out Michael Bourn or Justin Upton, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. O'Brien adds GM Frank Wren has spoken with Bourn's agent Scott Boras, but they didn't start any negotiations. O'Brien also has been told manager Fredi Gonzalez contacted Bourn within the past few weeks. In regards to Upton, O'Brien sees the Braves and Rangers as the last two teams standing, but neither seems willing to match what the Mariners offered in their failed bid to acquire the outfielder.
- O'Brien, via Twitter, discounts the suggestion the Braves have yet to acquire Bourn or Upton to save payroll in order to sign Martin Prado to a long-term deal.
- It's been nearly a decade since the Reds had to go to an arbitration hearing, but this year could be different, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "We're hopeful we can get something done," Reds GM Walt Jocketty said of the six players with whom salary figures were exchanged. "Some of the spreads were significant. We'll see how it proceeds the next week or two." The Reds' arbitration class is headlined by Mat Latos, whose case was analyzed by MLBTR's Matt Swartz last week. You can keep track of all of the Reds' arbitration cases with MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker.
- With the Red Sox still seeking a left-handed hitting first baseman/left fielder, Tom Singer of MLB.com wonders if the Pirates will make another run at Jose Iglesias, as the starting point of a bigger deal involving Garrett Jones (Twitter links).
- There is still no clear-cut answer as to whether Francisco Liriano will be with the Pirates in 2013, tweets Singer. The Pirates and Liriano agreed to a two-year, $12.75MM contract in December, but the deal was put on hold earlier this month when it was discovered the left-hander injured his right arm.
- Lucas Duda told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com his surgically repaired right wrist feels great and he has started hitting off a tee. Duda is projected to man left field for the Mets.
- Chipper Jones was honored at the New York BBWAA dinner last night and confessed to the audience he was starting to get the itch to go back to Spring Training, Rubin reports. "I was on the Braves' web site, just kind of messing around on my computer," said Jones. "I was thinking to myself, 'You know what? I think I'm going to go down and get me a workout in, see how everything feels.' I was down there for about five minutes and I figured I'd go to Hawaii instead."
Condolences go out to the family and friends of Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who passed away this afternoon according to the Cardinals. He was 92. Stan the Man was a .331/.417/.559 career hitter who slugged 475 homers and was thrice named league MVP during his 22 seasons with St. Louis.
Here's the latest from around the league as Saturday turns into Sunday…
- “I’m going to be brutally honest as I always am, I don’t [think Brian Wilson will return],” said Giants GM Brian Sabean to Anthony Sulla-Heffinger of The New York Post. Sabean acknowledged talking to Wilson's agent about a low-base salary, incentive-laden contract prior to non-tendering him.
- Some teams interested in acquiring Justin Upton have been struggling to get a response from the Diamondbacks according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). There's plenty of interest, but offers haven't been easy to make.
- Rich Hill told reporters (including Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal and Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald) that he is confident he'll find a big league contract on the open market (Twitter links). The lefty reliever has not talked about returning to the Red Sox on a minor league deal.
- Larry Stone of The Seattle Times took an updated look at the Mariners' payroll, which currently sits just north of $78MM according to his calculations.
The Cubs and the Diamondbacks recently discussed the feasibility of a trade involving right fielder Justin Upton, two major league sources told Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. According to both sources, the Diamondbacks asked for two-time All-Star Starlin Castro in return for Upton and were rebuffed. Theo Epstein & Co. decided that the asking price was too high and cut off talks.
Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers has an obvious surplus of talent in the outfield but he has made it clear that he wants quality in return for Upton, Jason Kubel, or anyone else. Meanwhile, the asking price for Upton may not be the only hurdle to overcome in a deal involving the Cubs. The Cubs are on the 25-year-old’s no-trade list, along with the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Mariners. Upton invoked his limited no trade privileges in order to block a deal to Seattle earlier this winter.
Upton has three years remaining on his deal and is owed $38MM over that span. Despite the lofty price tag that Towers has put on Upton, the club is still reportedly intent on moving him.
The Diamondbacks had insisted on receiving Major League-ready talent in any trade for Justin Upton, but were willing to accept prospects in last week's proposed deal with the Mariners that Upton blocked with his no-trade clause. D'Backs GM Kevin Towers tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the change in philosophy was due to the rising cost of free agents and the fact that the Snakes had added outfield depth in Cody Ross.
"It’s easier to do more of a prospect-driven deal than before. To me, it would have to be the right prospects," Towers said. "We’re targeting people’s best prospects and upper-level guys that we think are close — if not (major league-ready) this year, then next year.”
Some more news from around baseball…
- The Diamondbacks seem intent on trading Upton, leaving MLB.com's Matthew Leach puzzled at why the club would move a talented young player on a controllable contract.
- The Mets haven't given up on the possibility of offering Brian Wilson a Major League contract, reports Newsday's Marc Carig (Twitter link). We heard earlier today that the Mets were unimpressed when they watched Wilson throw over the weekend.
- The Braves have one of the least-profitable TV deals in baseball but team CEO Terry McGuirk says that low broadcasting revenues aren't hampering how the club does business, McGuirk tells David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Braves have 14 years left on their current TV deal, which McGuirk describes as “iron-clad."
- Athletics GM Billy Beane said it was difficult to move a highly-regarded pitching prospect like A.J. Cole, CSN Bay Area's Casey Pratt reports. However, the GM said it had to be done to help the A's contend in 2013. "We're shifting all of our focus on the Major League club and trying to take as much advantage as we can of the opportunity we have," Beane said.
- Beane said he prepared to go with a platoon of Derek Norris and George Kottaras behind the plate, MLB.com's Jane Lee reports (Twitter links). "Only if it was John Jaso" would he have made a move to improve Oakland's catching. Beane said he had been trying to acquire Jaso from the Mariners over the last couple of months.
- Buster Posey tops the list of baseball's best 25-year-old players, according to ESPN's Keith Law (ESPN Insider subscription req'd).
- Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters (including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune) that Edwin Jackson's age and track record made the team comfortable enough to sign him to a big free agent contract.
- In another item from Sullivan, Epstein said that he expects the Cubs to contend in 2013 despite the fact that they're still ostensibly rebuilding. "Otherwise, there’s no reason to show up or build a team,” Epstein said. “It’s postseason or bust every year. That’s what our goal is."
We heard yesterday that the Mets won’t trade Zack Wheeler to acquire Justin Upton from Arizona, and that there's not much momentum in talks between the Mets and Diamondbacks. Here are today’s Upton-related rumors, with the most recent updates up top…
- Some MLB people say teams such as the Rangers may prefer to keep their prospects for now in order to make stronger offers if and when David Price and Giancarlo Stanton become available in trades, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). Price, the defending AL Cy Young winner, will earn $10.11MM in 2013 and won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season. It won't be surprising if the Rays consider trades for him next winter. Stanton could also be available a year from now, when he becomes arbitration eligible for the first time and his salary increases substantially.
- Olney believes the Braves “could and would” part with a strong package of prospects for Upton and could be the best match for the 25-year-old right fielder.
- Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis suggests reliever Michael Wuertz will soon sign a minor league deal with a National League team (Twitter link).
- NL East teams such as the Phillies, Marlins, Nationals and Mets are keeping tabs on free agent right-hander Brandon Webb, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Mets won’t trade Zack Wheeler to acquire Justin Upton from Arizona, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter link). The Mets and Diamondbacks don’t see a fit for a deal involving Upton at this point, Heyman adds. New York does have interest in high-profile outfielders such as Upton.
- The Red Sox have seen all of Javier Vazquez's starts in Puerto Rico, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports (on Twitter). Many clubs will be watching the free agent right-hander pitch today, Gammons notes. Vazquez, 36, has said he's not in a hurry to sign.
- Grantland's Jonah Keri wonders if the Diamondbacks lost leverage in Justin Upton trade negotiations after their deal with the Mariners fell through. Keri also examines several trades from the past 30 years in which a well-regarded player who had fallen out of favor with the franchise was traded.
- The Rangers are "keeping the lines of communication open" when it comes to free agent Michael Bourn and trade candidate Justin Upton, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. If either's price comes down to the liking of GM Jon Daniels, Texas is prepared to take action.
- Jerry Hairston Jr. is in the final year of a two-year, $6MM contract, and he told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he'll retire if the Dodgers win the World Series this season. Hairston already has one World Series ring, having been a part of the 2009 Yankees and says "you can't get any better" than retiring after a World Series win.
- Roger Clemens sat down with CSN Houston's Steve Bunin to discuss his 2013 role with the Astros and confirmed again that he will not pitch next season. Clemens said he would've had to start training in November to make a serious run at a comeback. Instead, he'll help Houston by mentoring their young arms in Spring Training. For the time being, he's not interested in a full-time role with the organization, however.
- Wendy Thurm of Fangraphs takes a look at a potential Posey extension and notes the risk involved in doling out a massive contract for a player whose career only includes 1255 plate appearances to date.