Hot Stove Chatter: Does Justin Upton Land In San Diego?


Earlier today, while listening to MLB Radio, Jim Bowden, Jim Duquette and Casey Stern were discussing some of the moves, and there were many, that occurred during the final day of the 2014 Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego. Well, as luck would have it, the Matt Kemp deal came up, and each gave their impressions and thoughts about the deal. While all of them believed it was a positive, the consensus was that the Padres need a second impact bat to pair with Kemp.

Enter Atlanta Braves outfielder Justin Upton. Duquette, Bowden and Stern began discussing where each thought the retooling Braves and interim GM John Hart might send the 2015 free-agent-to-be, and without hesitation, the answer came quickly and definitively: San Diego. As the conversation unfolded, it was revealed that the feeling in Atlanta, is that a deal is already done, but it’s not to the Braves’ liking. 

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Here’s my question, then why deal him? Why not open up the wallet and try to keep the man who has gone 27/70 and 29/102 in each of the past two seasons? Sure, Upton would be a huge pickup for the Padres, but I can’t quite understand what the show’s hosts meant by a deal being in place, but it’s not to the Braves’ liking. Does that mean that the Braves feel cornered, and that Upton’s value only lessens the further along in the winter or into next season we get? Does it mean Upton would loaf (think Rickey Henderson) if he doesn’t get what he wants?

A couple of nights ago, the show discussed Hart’s desire to acquire young, controllable arms and how a pair of said arms might be able to pry Upton away from the Braves. Here’s a thought, which is nothing more than speculation on my part: Jesse Hahn and Matt Wisler for Upton. If the Braves jumped on that, it would give Padres’ GM A.J. Preller an entire season to try and lock up Upton to pair with the newly acquired Kemp for the foreseeable future. That’s the risk when you give up young arms, Upton might walk away and hit the open market.