Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Braves are “very much shopping” outfielder Justin Upton and are looking for “a higher return” than they received for Jason Heyward, who they traded to St. Louis earlier this week.
Upton is a free agent after the 2015 season and is due $14.5 million. What makes him more valuable than Heyward whom he out-homered 29 to 11. Sherman also points out that the only right-handed hitter who had more homers than Upton in the National League was Giancarlo Stanton.
Interest in Upton is described as as significant with the Astros, Mariners and Rangers among interested teams.
MLB Trade Rumors likes what the Braves are trying to do, moving Heyward and Upton for top shelf young pitching and then signing Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas to pair with Evan Gattis and give the Braves a pair of powerful right-handed bats to surround Freddie Freeman.
I strongly doubt that Sandy Alderson will look into Upton, who turned 27 in August, despite reported interest back when he was being shopped by the D’backs. The cost in prospects would be beyond what he’d be willing to move, plus they already made their big outfield move by signing Michael Cuddyer for $21 million.
The Mets could still be in the market for a right-handed hitting corner outfielder, but at a much smaller scale such as for free-agents Jonny Gomes or Ryan Ludwick. That would allow the team the flexibility to shift Cuddyer to first base against tough lefties in place of Lucas Duda.