If Justin Upton Becomes Available, Should the Blue Jays Target Him?


Alex Anthopoulos (AA) has a thing for players who have a fallen out of favor on their respectful teams. First it was Jose Bautista (When he was the Assistant GM in 2008), then it was Yunel Escobar (From the Braves in 2010), then it was Brett Lawrie (off-Season 2011), and then, his last work of art was Colby Rasmus (July 2011). So, when D-backs owner Ken Kendrick bashed Upton last month, suddenly he became a realistic option for the Blue J ays. And as Arizona falls further and further out of contention, it is becoming more and more probable that Upton, 24, hits the market.  Nick Piecoro from the Arizona Republic wrote yesterday that Arizona does covet Blue Jays shortstop prospect Adeiny Hechavarria, but it would require more than that (obviously) to get him.  He also points out a few reasons why it would make sense for the D-Backs to trade Upton. His first one is that they have a few outfield prospects in AAA that moving Upton would create jobs for, and his second is that they need a third baseman, shortstop and a top of the rotation starter. So, do the Blue Jays have these pieces, and should they push for Upton?

Third Baseman

Obviously the Blue Jays are not trading Brett Lawrie, as he has been their most consistent player this year, he is the reason for a whole lot of merchandise sales, and he is controllable for a long time! But what the Blue Jays do have is Yunel Escobar. Escobar, who is a SS right now, has the throwing arm to play third, and he definitely has the range for it. The only question mark would be his hands, which are pretty good as well, so he would likely be able to play third if asked to.


If Yunel Escobar was included in a trade, obviously the only SS left in Toronto would be Hech (or Omar Vizquel…). So, if Arizona would throw in Stephen Drew, who was also blasted by Ken Kendrick last month, Hech would become available for Arizona. This scenario is unlikely though because it is hard to imagine the Jays trading away both of their shortstops, although I guess it could happen.

Front Line Starter

The Blue Jays don’t have any MLB ready top of the rotation starters, or even back of the rotation starters, so this piece is NOT coming from the Jays by themselves. This situation would likely require a third team, similar to last season when the Jays traded for Edwin Jackson to get Colby Rasmus.

Here is a possible trade scenario…

To Blue Jays

Justin Upton (From Arizona)

Stephen Drew (From Arizona)

Carl Pavano (From Minnesota)

To Arizona

Yunel Escobar (from Toronto)

Adeiny Hechavarria (from Toronto)

Francisco Liriano (From Minnesota)

David Cooper (From Toronto)

To Minnesota

Travis Snider (From Toronto)

Chad Jenkins (From Toronto)

Carlos Perez (From Toronto)

Bobby Borchering (From Arizona)

Cash Considerations (From Toronto)

Just seems like something that could happen. Gives Minnesota some prospects, and some major league ready talent (Snider, Jenkins), fills Arizona’s needs of the three positions discussed earlier, and gives the Jays a veteran pitcher that they are lacking right now, plus gives them one of the most, if not the most feared outfields in the game with Bautista, Upton and Rasmus. I’m really bad at trade scenarios, so it is probably unfair for one of the teams, but I think if a trade for Upton would occur involving Toronto, Minnesota can be a suitable partner.

So to answer the original question of “Should Toronto Make a Push for Upton?”, I think the answer is yes. The price isn’t too high for what AA would be getting in return, and he could fill his pitching needs at the same time. Perez has no future in Toronto with d’Arnaud and A.J Jiminez in front of him, and Jenkins is expendable. David Cooper might play nicely in Arizona, a hitter friendly park, and Travis Snider becomes useless with the acquisition of Upton.

Obviously this is all hypothetical, but as a die-hard Jays fan, I would love to see AA do something like this.

Feel free to leave your comments below and we will discuss more about this topic, or anything else about the Blue Jays.

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