Padres Rumors: Orioles Interested in Justin Upton

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Courtesy: Getty Images
Courtesy: Getty Images

It is reported that the Orioles are in early negotiations for an outfielder and Justin Upton is one of the players they are targeting. The Orioles currently sit four games behind the New York Yankees for first place in the American League East and three and a half games behind the Houston Astros for the second A.L. wild card slot. The team needs an offensive boost from its left field position and the San Diego Padres could easily provide that.

The Baltmore Orioles however do not match up exceptionally well as far as prospects go. The majority of their top prospects are pitchers and all seem to either be injured or under performing. The Padres are surely doing their homework regarding prospects in their farm system. Who knows what kind of talent A.J. Preller could dig up if he puts his mind to it.

Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey are two of the top prospects for the Orioles. Both are currently on the Disabled List. Bundy has a long history of injuries. He had Tommy John surgery in 2013 and now has shoulder inflammation this season. He has a mid to upper 90’s fastball with solid command when healthy. This season in eight starts, Bundy is 0-3 with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. The 22-year old right handed pitcher has struck out 25 batters in 22 innings so far this season in Double-A. Impressive numbers but he needs to stay healthy to make an impact.

Harvey is a 20-year-old pitcher who has failed to throw one inning this season. He fractured his right ankle in spring training and is trying to recover from that. The right handed pitcher is the son of former Major League pitcher Bryan Harvey. The younger Harvey grew up in the game and is particularly known for his mound presence. For him to show that kind of maturity at the age of 20 is an encouraging thing.

The young pitcher from the North Carolina area has a fastball in the mid 90’s which he commands very well. He also has a solid curve ball and a decent change up. His season ended last year with a strained elbow ligament in July. Before that he was 7-5 with 3.18 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 17 games in A-Ball. He looks to have the ceiling of a solid #2 pitcher in the Major Leagues.

March 14, 2015 Photo by Andy Hayt
March 14, 2015 Photo by Andy Hayt

Both young pitchers are good prospects but their injury issues are surely enough to scare off any potential trade partner. The Padres might have some interest, but the value of both these top prospects is really low, so the Orioles would be foolish to part with them now for pennies on the dollar.

The Orioles also have Mike Wright, who is currently in Triple-A and is described as a potential middle to lower end starter in the league eventually. He does not have the best of stuff but is described as very durable and could be an effective long reliever in the Major Leagues. Wright is currently 6-0 with a 2.96 ERA in Triple-A. The 25-year-old right handed pitcher has six Major League starts for the Orioles this season going 2-3 with a 5.16 ERA in six starts and 29.2 innings.

The highest rated position player in the Orioles farm system is first baseman Christian Walker. The 24-year-old is a two-time national champion from his days at South Carolina. He was a fourth round pick in 2012 and made his debut last season with the Orioles. He is currently in Triple-A where he is hitting .251 in 87 games. He has seven home runs and 34 RBI’s and is described as a gap hitter. The right handed hitter is frankly quite an average player. He does not seem to be a good fit for the Padres.

Mandatory Credit: MiLB
Mike Yastrzemski Mandatory Credit: MiLB

Tim Berry and Tyler Wilson are a couple of pitcher who could also interest the Padres. Berry is a 24-year-old, left-handed pitcher and could be a situational lefty in the bullpen. He has an outside chance to start but needs to improve his command to do so. He is 2-7 with a 7.60 ERA in Double-A. Wilson is a right handed pitcher who at the age of 25 is basically Major League ready. He has a 1-1 record this season for the Orioles in five games after being called up in late May. He is currently back in Triple-A where he is 3-5 with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.

The last potential prospect is Mike Yastrzemski. The grandson of Carl Yastrzemski is described as a decent prospect with an excellent work ethic. The 24-year-old outfielder is  left-handed hitter and thrower. He has a great approach at the plate but lacks power. He is currently hitting .260 with three home runs and 35 RBI’s in 83 games and 319 at bats in Double-A. The young outfielder could be a decent prospect if his power continues to develop. Corner outfielders with no power and no speed don’t have much value at all.

The real need for the Padres in the minor league system is offensive players, specifically infielders. The team would love to add a quality shortstop who is nearly Major League ready, but the Orioles have nobody that fits that bill. All in all the two teams are a poor match on a potential trade for Upton. The Padres will surely ask for more than the Orioles would be willing to part with. The Padres could agree to a deal if the Orioles throw enough prospects at them.

Will Venable might be of more interest to the Orioles than Upton. He too is due for free agency and his price tag will likely be less than that of Justin Upton. The Padres could flip Venable to the Orioles for a prospect or two. That seems more of a likely scenario than the Orioles acquiring Upton from the Padres. You never know what is up the sleeve of GM A.J. Preller. He is surely going to work every angle in an attempt to improve this Padres team. We will see.

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