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A solution to the Andrus/Upton trade scenario: A third team

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Justin Upton would be a nice fit for several teams.(Photo credit: congvo)

Any time you talk about a major trade involving a potential superstar player you will get a lot of opinions. Since Justin Upton has been rumored to be on the trading block, there have been no shortage of trade scenarios talked and written about. Recently it has become pretty clear that the Texas Rangers are the most perfect fit to make a deal happen due to their depth at the two MLB-ready positions that Arizona is looking to improve at, SS & 3B. However sometimes the most obvious fit has its issues and roadblocks, so I am suggesting that a third team gets involved to get this deal done, and here’s why.

Texas is in desperate need of an ace. They have been rumored to be involved in the Zack Greinke bidding this offseason and Greinke certainly won’t come cheap, particularly with the Angels wanting to keep him and not let Texas pick him up simultaneously. Texas also doesn’t need Upton as much as they need a #1 starter. Instead of moving Kinsler to the outfield and bringing up Profar to play second, Texas could keep Profar and Kinsler at their natural positions while upgrading their rotation and not breaking the bank by signing Greinke.

Arizona needs help at both SS and third. They have outfield depth to make up for the loss of Upton, so no additional moves will need to be made to make up for the loss. If you consider Gerardo Parra could slide in to replace Upton and then slide Elvis Andrus in at SS, that’s an upgrade any way you look at it. Not to take away from Upton, but the addition in production that you receive by adding Andrus and Parra’s defense (minus Upton’s offensive production), Arizona looks much better. Based on strictly production, Upton and Andrus are actually rather similar. Over the past three seasons, Upton has posted a 12 cumulative WAR, where Andrus has produced 11. However that’s only part of the story because these are two young players who are valued on what they currently produce, but more so what they project to produce in future years. Also Upton has one additional year of cost certainty, but at twice the average annual value.

The list of potential suiters for Upton would be enormous. However there are only a few teams that would be willing to part with an MLB level high caliber pitcher to acquire him. Here are some players that could potentially solve that issue:

Roy Halladay

Roy Halladay would give Texas the ace they’ve been looking for. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Roy Halladay – Halladay had a tough 2012 season, including declining velocity which could be the result of all the miles on his arm finally taking its toll. Reports are that Halladay is working on adding strength to his lower body and core in order to bounce back in 2013. Halladay has always been a hard worker and that might help him moving forward. We’ve seen pitchers lose velocity and never recover, but Halladay has never relied on stuff to get hitters out so he’s a good bet to make the adjustments and get back to form. He would fit in an aging Philadelphia team that’s in need of some youth.

Cliff Lee – Rumors last year were that Lee or Hallday might be moved as Philadelphia looks to re-stock the farm system and get younger. However not only did they not do that, they went and re-signed Cold Hamels to keep the trio in tact. However Lee spent some time with Texas when he was traded from Seattle, so it’s possible he would be open to returning despite the fact that he enjoys living in Philadelphia to receive the great medical facilities for his child who has serious health problems.

David Price – Price was arguably the best pitcher in the AL last year and is in the prime of his career. Between James Shields and Price, the Rays rotation is starting to get awfully expensive and one of them will need to be moved. Texas can afford him and would likely work out an extension for the ace once a deal were done. Tampa then gets to add a bat with cost certainty that they would have no chance at acquiring in the open market. This would add a nice bat to an offense that desperately needs help, and allows them to take advantage of the aging Yankees and rebuilding Red Sox.

Jon Lester – Lester has never really been viewed as an “ace” but he’s solid coming off of a tough 2012 season on a team that’s in rebuild mode. I wrote previously that I think now is the time for Boston to move Lester, and this would be a good opportunity to do so and solve one of the several holes they have in the outfield. Lester would provide stability at the top of the Texas rotation and Boston would have a pretty talented offense come 2013/’14 when their prospect depth is ready to contribute and Justin Upton is putting holes in the green monster.

Josh Johnson – Johnson is headed for free agency in 2013 and it’s pretty likely Florida will just let him go for nothing considering their budget issues and JJ’s health track record. However when he’s “on” he’s one of the best in the game and would be an ideal fit with Nolan Ryan in Texas. Adding Upton would give Miami some cost certainty and some needed offense to mix with Jose Reyes and Giancarlo Stanton, who would most likely have to move to LF. It’s likely that Florida would have to kick in another piece to get the deal done.

What do you think? Tell me some trade ideas you have in the comments section.

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