Is Justin Upton To The Mariners Worth The Price Of Walker?
Rumors that the Braves are shopping Justin Upton and the Mariners are interested in making a run at him are starting to take form. This has happened before and the Mariners did indeed offer a package deal in January of 2013, which included Taijuan Walker, to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Upton went on to be traded to the Atlanta Braves and has had two good seasons there. Why would the Braves be interested in trading him then? They have a right handed power hitting outfielder in Evan Gattis and now appear as the frontrunner to sign Yasmany Tomas.
With one year left on his contract, Upton is expendable even after trading Jason Heyward. There is no doubt Upton is an instant improvement to an outfield that struggled to produce last year. Jon wrote just yesterday about how the asking price for Upton is high. It’s clear he can hit the long ball but some of the things that made him more appealing two years ago have escaped him.
When the Mariners made that offer to the Diamondbacks, He had stolen at least 18 bases in the previous four seasons. In the last two, he has stolen just eight each. Also, in the two years leading up to that offer, Upton had cut his strikeout rate down below 20%. His two seasons with the Braves has seen him strikeout over 25% in both years while also hitting below his career batting average in both seasons.
These numbers aren’t too threatening as Upton has still made it work. His WAR hasn’t been a rollercoaster but it hasn’t been that consistent throughout his career. That being said, his WAR has still fallen within the Upton range without dipping too low.
Even with the extra strikeouts he gets on base at a high clip and is still a good enough runner. I don’t think he will be able to replicate his MVP-like numbers in 2011 but all-star level production from the outfield would be nice.
From a numbers standpoint I believe Upton is worth it, the only thing looming is that his contract is up at the end of the 2015 season. The Mariners were removed from his no-trade list but does that mean he would want to stick around?
Say Walker is offered again. Is one year of Upton worth multiple years of Walker? It’d be a risk. Perhaps Upton is open to staying already or maybe another winning season would sway him. Maybe he struggles and the Mariners don’t want any part of him.
In the end I think he’s worth the risk and the Mariners should try to get this deal done.