ORLANDO — The Red Sox would love to have Justin Upton. He’s 23, has a career OPS+ of 112 and is owed only $49.25 million for the next five years. The right-handed hitter has power, speed and youth. He also is an excellent right fielder.
Once Kevin Towers announced to his fellow GMs that he was prepared to take offers on any of his players, Theo Epstein probably shoved guys out of the way to get in front of the line.
Towers and Epstein are good friends and former colleagues in San Diego. If there is a deal to be made, they can probably make it.
The problem is there may not be a deal.
The price for Upton would make what the Padres want for Adrian Gonzalez look like a sack of rocks. Upton is a young, cost-controlled player. To get him back would take a package of similar Major League players along with a top prospect. Probably at least four players. This is not a deal where Casey Kelly can be the centerpiece.
We’re talking Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Jacoby Ellsbury and Anthony Rizzo. Something like that.
As Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reported, the talks have stalled. Obviously you can see why. The Sox wouldn’t trade Buchholz and probably not Bard.
You can make that trade. But then you need to find another reliever and another starter. The Sox have so many needs that creating two more wouldn’t make a lot of sense, especially with the free-agent market on the verge of getting out of control.
But these things evolve. What Towers wants now may not be what he’ll take next month at the winter meetings. This is the same GM who wanted the sun, moon and stars for Jake Peavy in 2009 and settled for Dexter Carter, Aaron Poreda, Clayton Richard and Adam Russell.
The difference is Peavy had to be traded by the low-budget Padres. They couldn’t afford him. Upton doesn’t have to be dealt. At this point, it’s just a lot of chatter.