According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Pittsburgh Pirates are serious bidders for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton. In fact, Stark says the Pirates may be willing to send Starling Marte to Arizona in the deal. The Diamondbacks are falling out of contention and Upton has struggled so far this season. However, Upton’s struggles have not yet scared off suitors.
The Diamondbacks are 6.5 games behind the Giants in the National League West. They’re four games under
.500 and have yet to be able to put together a sustained run. Upton is currently hitting .264/.347/.388.
Very few in the league would question Upton’s pure talent and his potential. What the Diamondbacks have to consider though is what they could get in return as it stands now verse the potential of a continued decline for Upton. He’s only 24 years old and has a lot of time to get back on track. And the truth is, Upton was legitimately in the National League MVP talks last season for a while. This year could be an anomaly – it’s just his first since his rookie year with an OPS under .799. But it could also be the start to a downward trend. This is what Diamondbacks’ GM Kevin Towers has to weigh.
The Pirates on the other hand are looking for a bat. They are one game behind the Red for first place in the National League Central and are 10 games over .500. Pittsburgh is looking to do everything it takes to avoid the nasty backslide they saw happen last season. The 2011 Pirates had a similar magical run through the first half of summer. However, the second half was far less kind. By season’s end, the Pirates were 20 games under .500.
Justin Upton’s power, his skill in right, and his youth would make him a prime target for the Pirates. Interestingly though, the Pirates would not be taking him on as a rental to make the final push into the postseason. Upton is signed to a 6-year, $50 million deal. He has three years left on that deal and will make $9.75 million next year.
If the Pirates were to give up Sterling Marte in a deal, they’d be parting with the 73rd ranked prospect in baseball according to Baseball America. He’s only 23 and is near Major League-ready. He’s currently hitting .286/.349/.490 at Triple-A Indianapolis.
For more on the Pirates, be sure to check out Rum Bunter.
For more on the Diamondbacks, be sure to check out Venom Strikes.