The biggest determining factor is the good old fashion money involved. Like stated before, Upton would easily require $100 million dollars in a deal. In 2012 the New York Yankees gave Jacoby Ellsbury a seven-year $153 million dollar deal. Also in 2013 the Texas Rangers gave Shin-Soo Choo a seven-year $130 million dollar contract. Both those players are not Justin Upton and in fact both players are quite different hitters from Upton. They are however players that became free agents at around the same age as Upton. Both players also have a track record similar to Upton and their values are close.
Both Choo and Elsbury are top of the order type hitters who amass better analytical numbers than Upton, but they don’t hit home runs like he does. Upton has tremendous potential and hasn’t really put it all together for one complete year. Looking at each players WAR numbers you will see that Choo averages a 4.64 WAR per season and Elsbury provides a 4.58 WAR. Meanwhile Upton is averaging a 3.13 WAR. I got this number by adding the total WAR numbers for each player, in years where they played at least 135 games.
Obviously WAR doesn’t dictate total value of a player but it does give an indication and more and more teams are adopting the figure in projecting value of players. With all that being said Upton will surely be looking for a seven-year deal in the neighborhood of $150 million dollars.
That would put him at around $21.42 million dollars a season. Kemp is scheduled to make $21.5 for the next three seasons so that figure seems close. Now would the Padres be able to afford paying two outfielders over $40 million dollars a season? The answer is yes, but how much does that leave to field the rest of the team with?
The money is a huge issue in potentially signing Upton, and probably will be the deciding factor. As much as I hate to say it, the writing is on the wall for Justin Upton. He will most likely be a Padre for only one season. The team has Rymer Liriano and Hunter Renfroe in the minor leagues and losing Upton could also open up Myers to play left field. Moving Myers could open up more possibilities for the team and provide more flexibility with the line-up.
I really do hope I am wrong, as I have always admired Justin Upton. He quietly goes about his work and doesn’t say much in regards to his accomplishments. I admire players that quietly go about their craft and perform at the highest level. He is a great fit for the San Diego Padres team for this season. In order for him to be a Padre beyond 2015, some issues need to be worked out.
The money could kill the whole deal because if the Padres decide not to resign Upton, they would be entitled to an extra first round pick. Upton would be a class A free agent loss, providing the Padres a much need draft pick. The farm system is in need of a restocking after this past seasons acquisitions. The decision on what to do with Upton will come down to how the team performs, and how Upton himself performs. It is sure to be an interesting year in Padreland.