After ESPN's Jayson Stark called the Pirates "serious bidders" for the services of Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton on "Baseball Tonight" on Sunday, many are wondering what it would take to bring the 24-year-old to Pittsburgh.
ESPN Sweetspot blogger Christina Kahrl thinks money could be a big factor in the negotiations.
With three years and $38 million left on his contract, I wouldn't. Even last year, when Upton "broke out," all you got outside of the bandbox he calls home was a .767 OPS, which is below average for a right fielder (.794). Career, he's at .742 outside of the ballpark formerly known as BOB. If the Snakes want real prospects, they'd need to offer cash back to help his new team afford a good-not-great outfielder. If they can't offer that, their shot at multiple blue-chippers dwindles.
Fellow blogger Matt Philip points out that if the Pirates are looking for a deal more geared toward winning in 2012, they might want to consider a cheaper rental like the Padres Carlos Quentin, but thinks Upton can help the Bucs in the long term.
Upton will be considerably more expensive in the years to come. While he's making just $6.75 million this season, that figure will jump to $9.75 million next season, $14.25 million in 2014 and $14.5 million in 2015. Andrew McCutchen will cost the Bucs considerably more in the future as well. His salary will jump to $7.25 million in 2014 and a cool $10 million in 2015. For a franchise that routinely posts overall payroll figures in the $30-40 million range, investing more than $20 million in two players would certainly be a change in direction.
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