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Looking at the Value of a Possible Upton Trade

By Mike Silva ~ November 18th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees, Statistical Analysis.

I proposed the Yankees look into acquiring Justin Upton the other day. For a team that has aging offensive players, and a finite budget this winter, Upton could be a great value since he is signed for another five years. The guys at Nomaas are discussing at what point does it not become worth paying the price for Upton using WAR (Wins Above Replacement).

My proposal the other day was offering Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, and a pitching prospect not named Banuelos or Betances. I didn’t even put Jesus Montero in the discussion since Arizona already has their own Montero, and I believe he would be a deal breaker anyway. Using the same theory as Nomaas I am potentially giving up 7+ wins (5.4 for Gardner, 1.4 for Joba) and receiving a talented player, but one that has yet to reach his potential. Last year Upton produced a 3.1 WAR. Here is why, despite the advanced metrics, I push for an Upton deal.

First, I still don’t know if Brett Gardner can duplicate 2010. Yes, he led the team in OBP and was the best defensive outfielder in the majors. On the flip side his play dropped off in the second half, and that aforementioned defense isn’t quite as valuable playing a corner outfield position. The reality is Gardner doesn’t profile as well in the corners. As for Chamberlain, Brian Cashman made it known that his days of starting for the Yankees are over. He essentially is just like any other middle reliever and very replaceable. I also don’t worry about the pitching prospects. The Yankees have so many arms they could actually afford to trade an Ivan Nova and not feel any pain if he goes on to become a 15 game winner. There is more where that came from (see Ian Kennedy last year). Hands off Banuelos and Betances, but the rest should be in the discussion.

The debate should come down to Upton vs. Gardner. This isn’t like the Carl Crawford comparison I made a few weeks ago. Upton has far more offensive upside than Gardner and, although not as good defensively, isn’t a slouch himself. Remember, you are looking to replace corner defense. The presence of Granderson also helps on that end. Last year could very well be the best we will ever see out of Brett Gardner, but I don’t believe Upton has reached his ceiling. This could be a player that produced 6-7 wins by himself in a season. When you look at his reasonable contract (6 years/$51 million) this is exactly the type of positional player the Yankees should be looking to acquire.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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11 Responses to Looking at the Value of a Possible Upton Trade

  1. Ben Vinutti

    I agree with you on this Mike. Gardner will probably never even be a Juan Pierre much less close to a Justin Upton; Chamberlin could use a change of scenery; and the Yanks could use an upgrade in the outfield. On the downside, Upton could turn out to be A. Rios, never fulfilling his promise but remaining a solid MLB player. I would take that risk for the potential upside.

  2. Paul Catalano

    Have to agree that if Arizona would accept a Ivan Nova, Brett Gardner and Joba Chamberlain trade, I would go for it. Word is that the D-Backs are asking for the moon. Frankly, I would trade high on Granderson instead of Gardner if it were my call. I’m just not a big Granderson fan, and would trade his late season spurt and lengthy contract for Upton’s any day of the week

  3. AZfan

    of course you would make this deal. Jeez, stupid Yankee fans.

  4. JCH28

    Gardner and Joba for Upton. ROFLCOPTER

    Typical Yankee fan waaaay over-valuing Yankee players.

  5. Gene

    Im not in love with this deal.People forget about 1 thing all the time entangeables.Gardner brings speed obp plus he is a plus in the clubhouse.Upton has been a questionable clubhouse presence and who bats leadoff if D.J. is really past his prime.Gardner.Bad deal i would not even look at it.

  6. tony

    i would be very surprised if the Yankees did anything to upgrade the team.all there concern’s & energy are x-hausted in trying to sign C.Lee/D.Jeter/Moe & waiting on A.Pettitte to make up his mind.Cashman seem’s to think by signing Lee,the yankees are on their way to winning a World Series.this team need’s more than Lee.everything after Lee are possibility’s..comm-on Cashman wake-up befor you make the same mistake you made last yr.& end-up with has-been’s..

  7. Alex

    I would love to have Justin Upton in LF for the Yankees and lock him up long term. Here’s who I would trade for Upton.
    Yankees Get:
    Justin Upton
    D- Backs get:
    Brett Gardner
    Joba Chamberlain
    Ivan Nova

    The Reason Why I would trade Gardner is because 1. Upotn an Gardner are both young and won’t get the same amount of playing time on a team together and 2 He isn’t as good
    as Graderson and Swisher whom whe both
    need in the Yankees Linup. I would trade Joba because he usless to the Yankees and needs to be some where else.

  8. angelo piarro

    I just have to agree…for Upton and Lee….get out Joba ….and two others….

  9. Joe Giradi

    I would get rid of A-Rod, break his contract for substance abuse, send him packing I’m afraid he’ll turn out to be like Lowe this year. spend the money on young talent. his 32 million buys 4 quality guys.

  10. Ray

    I’m loving all of these people saying we’ve already seen Gardner’s ceiling but not Upton’s. Here’s a clue: Upton’s plate appearances result in a K 25.8% of the time. That’s over 1728 career PA in 3+ seasons. And all in the NL West, not the AL East. He isn’t a 5 tool player – he has three tools; slightly better than average power, speed and arm. He cannot make consistent contact and has trouble judging fly balls (which is why was moved from CF to RF).

    Why do you think AZ is trying to unload him? Kevin Towers would gladly take Gardner, Joba and Nova and then laugh all the way to the bank.

  11. cooldrive

    Do you really think AZ is that stupid. A budding superstar for a slap hitter whose value will be nil when he loses a step?
    No matter how high you pile garbage, it’s still garbage.
    The Snakes aren’t the Red Sox of the twenties and early thirties nor are they the KC A’s of the fifties and sixties.
    Haybe the Yanks would trade Cano for Stephen Drew. Ya think?

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