Kansas City Royals
The defending World Series Champions are not sure if they are coming or going at the moment. A season after winning the title, the team has been ravaged by injuries. For a smaller market team, it is difficult to compete with injuries at key positions. Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain are currently injured and the team could use an offense upgrade in their lineup. The fact Upton can play excellent defense also makes this deal a real possibility. The Royals value defense and he can surely make highlight play after highlight play in the outfield. So how can these two teams get a deal done? The Royals aren’t exactly a large market team ready to spend. Upton would be a huge financial commitment for them.
The Royals have some interesting minor leaguers that if included in a deal might be tempting enough for the Padres to eat most of Upton’s salary. At this point it is all about the future isn’t it? Hunter Dozier a third base prospect who is currently in Triple-A has 19 homers on the year with a .308 batting average. The 24-year-old right handed hitter moves well at third and has the athleticism to stay there. Miguel Almonte is another interesting player. The 23-year-old pitcher is also in Triple-A. He has very good stuff including an above average change. The Dominican right hander has been compared to Edinson Volquez in terms of stuff. He projects as a reliever in the majors at the very least with the upside of a mid-rotation starter. These two or a mixture of some other prospects could entice the Padres. It is my belief that the Padres will be targeting older prospects a little longer along in their development with their new additions. The current lower minor league system for the Padres is loaded with talent, its time to replenish the mid to high levels.
This team makes sense simply in the fact the Padres and Rangers match up so well on a potential deal. I have reported it many times and I stand by it. Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo make a ton of sense for the Padres, but neither player will be cheap by any means. Nor should they. The Padres do however posses the major league talent the Rangers need to take their team to the next level. That is why these two teams match up so well. Derek Norris, Andrew Cashner, Ryan Buchter and Melvin Upton Jr. make a ton of sense for the Rangers. This piece is about Upton in particular, so what would he bring to Texas? Right now the Rangers have Ian Desmond starting most games in center. He is doing well, but come playoff time, an inexperienced Desmond could cost the Rangers big time. The club could easily use a plus defender like Upton to solidify their defense.
Besides the two monster prospects (Gallo and Profar) the Rangers have so many other young players that fit the Padres profile. Lewis Brinson and Nomar Mazara are great young talents but the Padres are so stacked in the outfield, it is hard to see them making a move for another young outfielder. Yohander Mendez, Andy Ibanez and Travis Demeritte all make sense though. Mendez is a left-handed pitcher with plus stuff and control issues. He is still 21 and has a great upside. Demeritte is killing the ball right now. The 21-year-old has 23 home runs in High-A ball and the second baseman has tons of power. The problem is he has K’d 123 times in 322 at bats. That is not good. He needs to make the proper adjustments with the bat. Ibanez is a Cuban player who the Padres were linked to before he signed last July. He is 23 and in Double-A where he is still a work in progress. He has a great bat and should make it to the major leagues eventually. These two teams should pull of a deal eventually, at least that is what most people think.
These two teams have made several deals in the past. There is definitely room for another one and Melvin Upton Jr. could be an interesting return for the M’s. Their current outfield situation has Leonys Martin, Nori Aoki, Seth Smith and Franklin Gutierrez rotating out there with Nelson Cruz getting some playing time as well. Upton would have to fight for playing time on this squad, but if the Mariners want to go deep in their playoff quest they need to have depth. Upton and his defense would also play well in the spacious outfield of Safeco Field. What kind of return could the Padres expect for Upton?
Left handed pitcher Dan Altavilla is a decent return. The reliever is 6-2 this season with a 2.08 ERA in 43 innings pitched while striking out 51 batters and recording 12 saves in Double-A. The small in stature (5′ 11″) right handed pitcher has an outstanding high 90’s fastball with decent slider. At the age of 23 he is nearly major league ready and a decent option at the back-end of the rotation. Ryan Yarbrough is a left-handed starter and is currently 9-4 with a 3.40 ERA for the Jackson Generals of the M’s Double-A affiliate. He is 24 and has outstanding command. His stuff isn’t overpowering but he knows how to throw. It remains to be seen who the Padres would target and if the two teams could get a deal done. The M’s are in no position to add salary so this deal could get complicated.
The Toronto Blue Jays have shown some serious interest in the last few days. The return from them hasn’t been reported, so we will just have to wait and see. The five detailed teams represent the best fits, but nothing is a guarantee. Yes they seem like the most likely landing spots, but you never know in the game of baseball. Anything can happen. A.J. Preller is surely going to make some moves and I fully expect Upton to be dealt. The team is all about maximizing a players worth right now. If they can turn Upton’s once horrible contract into a trade for prospects, they will certainly do it. Stay tuned because it is about to get very interesting in Padres Land.