After taking a look at the potential value and cost of Justin Upton yesterday – I threw together a package of Jonathan Sanchez, Dan Runzler and Nate Schierholtz to get started, then compared the value of those three players versus the value of Upton – I’ve decided my hypothetical haul is nowhere near what Towers would command. I did come to the conclusion that they alone wouldn’t be enough, but that a top prospect on top of those three players would get them in the conversation, if not close. I’m backing off of that for three reasons.
My first reason is that I probably understated what Kevin Towers is looking for in return for Upton. He told Joel Sherman of the New York Post: “[Upton] would be a tough guy to move. But you always seek out the information on what teams will do because you never know if, to get one player, a team will grossly overpay.” The key here being, grossly overpay. Towers isn’t talking about an in-division team, mind you, he’s talking about any team looking to acquire Upton. And if you’re the Dodgers, Padres, Rockies or Giants, that price goes from being a black hole to a supermassive black hole.
My second clarification – Or revision, if you’d like to call it that – is that Jonathan Sanchez simply could not be the centerpiece for a deal between the Giants and Diamondbacks. There’s one specific reason for this, which you may have gathered from reading my previous post, but I didn’t mention. Jonathan Sanchez is only under control for two more seasons (2011 and 2012), and thus there’s likely no possibility Towers would accept such a deal. Especially, because Giants have another left-hander to offer with more upside, much more obvious room for development; he is also much younger, much cheaper, and under control for much longer: Madison Bumgarner. If the Diamondbacks are willing to move Upton, they are willing rebuild or at least reconstruct their roster. If Sabean called and started with Sanchez, Towers hangs up. Moreover, Towers would likely be after not only Bumgarner, but also Brandon Belt and possibly Pablo Sandoval. That’s the reality of acquiring Justin Upton at this point in time – Towers is not desperate in any shape or form, he’s simply shooting for the moon and hoping someone builds him a space shuttle. And he’s likely not very interested in a pitcher with only two more seasons of team control, even as talented as Sanchez may be.
And to put this rumor to bed, the last reason is Upton’s projected future value. I wrote yesterday that he’s likely worth around $90 million through 2015. What I did not say, or perhaps didn’t make clear enough, is that his value could range anywhere from probably a floor of $80 million to a ceiling of $125 million. That’s how limitless his talent is, as a 23 year old outfielder with tools falling out of his pockets. This, even more so than Towers’ lack of real motivation to move Upton, fuels the very fact that a massive return would not only be expected, but demanded.
So, I apologize if I deluded you into thinking a Justin Upton deal for Sanchez, Runzler and Schierholtz was remotely possible. It’s not. A deal for Upton is possible for the Giants – they do have the pieces – but will never happen. When Madison Bumgarner was pitching eight shutout innings in game four of the World Series, he was also making himself as untouchable as a young pitcher can be in parallel.