Rays, Rangers Early Favorites to Land Justin Upton


The Arizona Diamondbacks want to move as quickly as possible in trading all-star right fielder Justin Upton and GM Kevin Towers will be looking for high-end prospects in return, so says Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Upton is under contract for three more years. Image: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

Chief among the interested teams are the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Texas’ interest makes a lot of sense. Not only do they have a plethora of young, major league ready talent, but they have a need for an outfield bat with the likelihood that Josh Hamilton will leave via free agency. Texas is also in a position to take on the three years and $38.5 million left on Upton’s deal with the D-backs.

The Rays, on the other hand, don’t seem to be in a position financially to take on that kind of contract. Certainly, they can offer the kind of prospect package Towers would command in a deal, but the Rays are in the process of watching Justin’s older brother, B.J. Upton, walk via free agency as they can’t afford the $12-15 million per year that he’ll get on the open market.

If they can’t afford B.J., how could they fit Justin into the payroll?

Interestingly enough, it looks like the Yankees and Red Sox will not be in the mix to obtain Upton in a trade with Arizona. Neither club can offer the kind of package that Towers is seeking and the Yankees are said to have concerns over whether or not he could handle playing in New York. Or is that just what they say when they (gasp) don’t have the resources to get literally any player they want?

If the Upton saga plays out quickly, I’d peg the Rangers as the favorites. Arizona has a need at shortstop and Elvis Andrus would be the likely fit there, as I doubt Texas would part ways with Jurickson Profar. Texas can also offer third base prospect Mike Olt, though Sherman says Towers isn’t high on him.