Justin Upton and Andre EthierJanuary 4th, 2013 by terrybenish
It is now a thirty six to forty eight hour news cycle as to the latest deal the Mariners are linked to and about to fulfill after some big hitter. It was Andre Eithier and now it is Juston Upton. Talking to some of the beat folks, off the record, they don’t believe the news.
There are a couple of things to look at that are interesting about the trade and where is the leverage in the deal and would a team one year removed from the playoffs take some double A guys in return for a 25 year old who is good, not great but good?
Then there are some riffs on Jack Zduriencik that are window dressing to this purported deal that could be chewed on.
So Upton’s stats the last three years have been down, up, down. So if the cycle continues this would be an up year. He is a good but not great onbag guy, consistent and good contact, great bat speed. His power winks on and off as it were. Using isolated power index, which is slug minus average, swings back and forth from 70 to 90 points. It is kind of odd, but there it is. As a right fielder his arm is ok, but not spectacular.
He’s had two seasons overall where his OPS is right at .900. While two of last three seasons it’s been below .800, slightly. What does it cost in undervalued Seattle prospects? Quite a few probably.
Let us look at that if past is prologue and will help us distill what we might get. Through the end of last year’s season, the roster is not littered with great guys that can hit the ball out of the park and get on bag, nor are there great starters acquired in trades in the rotation. Vargas was part of the three team deal back in December of 2008, ok but not great. Then he gets flipped for Kendrys Morales in a I’ll scratch your back deal that sees Morales in the Cliff Lee role, where Seattle will probably flip him for something at the trading deadline. Fister for nothing of consequence. Pineda for Montero and the organization seems to be hedging their bets on that one now. Cliff Lee for Smoak and change, change flipped into John Jaso.
When you’re trading star position players or nearly star position players you have the best leverage. Star to good pitchers has not netted us much. I’m not sure some double A guys, however promising, will either.
Like it or not the Mariner’s upside really rests on them fulfilling the promise of the prospects in their system. They spent a decade of flipping those type of players for bad players. Now there is a crescendo to do it again. Seems kind of stupid, particularly in the face of evidence that says we have been unable to get any value in trades recently or over last twelve years. The onus on the organization is to make sure they don’t miss on their own players and to make sure they do not flog their mistakes over and over again.