It’s already been reported that the Atlanta Braves are shopping their two-time All-Star outfielder Justin Upton.
What hasn’t been reported yet is that the Braves are actively talking with the Chicago Cubs* about a trade for Upton.
While this hasn’t been officially announced by either club, a source close to the organization has reported that there have infact been exchanges between the Cubs and Braves regarding Upton.
The scenario is not far-fectched in the least. It makes sense as the Cubs have a rich farm system as well as the resources to re-sign Upton to an extension to keep from losing the slugger to free agency after the season.
Now, there have been a few teams already associated with Upton, one being the Mariners. That doesn’t make all that much sense to me because they would be bringing him into the extremely pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.
Yet the Mariners do have the type of pitching prospects that the Braves are looking for as they are basically in the beginning of a rebuilding phase.
Other interested parties include the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers, both of whom also have strong farm systems.
With the trade of Jason Heyward and Tommy La Stella, plus designating Jonny Venters and Ramiro Pena for assignment, it appears that the Braves are looking to get as much young pitching talent as possible to fortify their farm system.
It’s also been said that they will be looking for even more in return than they asked for when they traded Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden to the Cardinals last week.
In return for the reliever and All-Star outfielder, who hit .271/.351/.384 with 11 home runs and 58 RBI, as well as winning his second career Gold Glove Award for Atlanta in 2014, the Braves recieved quite a bit from the Cardinals.
Both Upton and Heyward will be free agents next year. However, Upton is scheduled to make almost twice as much as Heyward in 2015.
The Braves apparently believe that Upton is worth more than Heyward mainly due to his power. He had 29 home runs and 102 RBI last season which is considerably more than Heyward’s numbers.
Upton was also hit more home runs than any right handed hitter in the National League last season besides the Miami Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton (37).
Strong right handed hitters are in demand this offseason and the Braves feel that some team will be willing to pay and/or give up the prospects they so desperately want, in order to have an extra 30 home runs next year.
Upton may be expensive but the Cubs are out to prove that they can be contenders in 2015 and having Upton on the roster would certainly help their chances.
So don’t be surprised if the Cubs jump in and make a trade for Upton. It’s a possibility, and given the circumstances surrounding both clubs, it could very well happen.
I understand that the Cubs were a part of Upton’s no trade list but so were the Mariners and now they are not. It is subject to change. The list also stems back to his time with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Obviously things have changed quite a bit. If my source is correct and there have been talks that means that Upton likely OK’d the interaction between the two clubs