As the news broke Monday afternoon that the Diamondbacks were willing to deal their star outfielder Justin Upton, all I could think of was how great he would look in front of the left field wall at Minute Maid Park. I mean think about the possibilities and wipe the drool off your chin. Upton being available isn’t a surprise, the guy seemed to be on the trade block all season long, but that fact the the D-Backs sure seem willing to move the guy, is somewhat interesting. How does an organization who is only a year removed from winning its division, consider trading a building block player. Sure they may get quite a bit in return but they were so close only two seasons ago, making the playoffs is close for me. Maybe the Stros can take advantage of this situation but do they have the pieces?
Let’s all remember the Stros are rebuilding and adding players of Upton’s caliber will cost quite a bit. Let’s forget the monetary cost for the moment since the Stros have plenty to spend and Upton’s contract is very reasonable, 3 years for 38 million. So the cost will truly be in assets and it will hurt, badly. The DBacks are known to want third baseman, shortstop and pitching help so the Astros might actually have what they’re looking for. Would a package of Bud Norris, Jed Lowrie and maybe Jimmy Paredes be enough to even start the conversation? Bud could fill the pitching demand and Lowrie could play 3B or SS if necessary. Let’s be honest with ourselves, Jimmy Paredes is blocked so he could be a nice nugget to throw in. Tough to say if the D-Backs ask for a guy like George Springer, Jonathan Singleton or any of the young 2012 draftees. Those conversations should be fun to listen to, that’s for sure.
So the Astros certainly have the ammunition to go after the big outfielder, even at a steep price, but should they? Simple enough question, given the fact I talked up Mr. Upton, my choice should be transparent. That said, let’s step back a second and see what would change my answer. Upton is 25 but has been known to be slightly immature and problematic. Hey, in today’s sports world, it’s hard not to find an athlete who isn’t a bit brash and outspoken. Do you see what I did there? I call it the Ron Artest effect. If your a fan of a team he is facing then Ron is thuggish but if he is on your team, Artest is quirky and misunderstood. I can live with Justin’s issues as long as he hits and hits some more, given Bo Porter’s personality he might too. He’d play the outfield and there are some intriguing players on the way but none of them are proven and chances one of them becomes Justin Upton is a longshot, even George Springer. Also, remember the DH will have a place in the Astros lineup next season, if a position is truly your concern. Monetarily he isn’t cheap but certainly reasonable at 3 years for 38 million with a chance to re-sign the guy if he produces. Plenty of things to ponder, good and bad.
Overall, the chances of acquiring a talent like Upton are pretty low but why not dream a bit. The pieces are there if Luhnow would like to get involved and I would be slightly surprised if he didn’t. So, Stros fans, buckle in and enjoy what should be, if nothing else, an intriguing Winter.