The Armchair GM: Is Justin Upton Worth A Look?

How would Upton look as a Met?

The trade deadline came and went without Arizona moving their best player who is still a couple of weeks shy of 25 years old. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. But the real surprise is that a player like Justin Upton was actually available. Upton went number one overall back in the unreal 2005 draft, ahead of Ryan Zimmerman, MVP Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, likely MVP Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce and Jacoby Ellsbury. By the way, those last three players were taken after the Mets drafted Mike Pelfrey. But at least the Mets have a shot to make up for that now.

Upton came up at 19 and took a couple years to start producing. Trout and Harper didn’t set the world on fire in their first seasons either. But once he did he became a top asset in baseball. Starting from his breakout 2009 to this season Upton’s OPS has been: .899 , .799, .898, .765. Obviously this is a special talent, but he’s also still putting it together. However he’s also signed until 2015, so he has time to work with coaches and figure it out before he cashes in on a big free agency pay day. For his career he hasn’t hit as well away as he has at home, but his OBP is always high. So yeah he will hit better in Chase Field, who doesn’t? I’ll still take a guy who hits .275 if he can still produce a .850+ OPS. And he’s a power/speed guy. Guys like that are perfect in CitiField. Upton also has the power to clear the Citi fences. If you look at this chart here, you’ll see Upton’s homers clear Citi’s dimensions.

What’s another great selling point is that Justin, and his brother B.J., are friends with David Wright. They grew up playing AAU ball together. Imagine a 2013 lineup that features both Upton brothers and Wright. A group of friends playing ball every day, keeping each other in check, and providing the Mets with some star power. B.J. is a free agent and always has had untapped potential, the lights of Broadway could bring the best out of him. And even if it’s only Justin the Mets go for, Wright finally gets some protection behind him again.

The best part is the Diamondbacks reportedly aren’t looking for prospects, they want players that can contribute now. So the Mets can hold onto Wheeler/Harvey and be able to make a deal for Upton. Justin isn’t having that great of a year, but he’s been hot lately going .283/.391/.435 the last 30 days. Sometimes you just have a bad start or a bad year.

Verdict: Players of Upton’s caliber don’t come around too many trade blocks. Make a deal for Upton that allows you to hold onto Wheeler/Harvey, send along Duda/Flores plus other pieces that are ready to help Arizona compete. Work with him and watch Upton blossom into that stud player everyone expected him to be. By not surrendering tons of key prospects you can take a shot here and not set your franchise back. And by taking this shot here you have a chance to land a 20/20 threat and a positive future for the franchise.