Update: The Blue Jays have agreed with the Padres on a trade sending them Melvin Upton Jr., in return getting an A-ball prospect.
The race for the services of Melvin Upton Jr. is heating up. The San Diego Padres outfielder is getting more and more interest, with the Toronto Blue Jays rumored to be favorites among a pack of three, including the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians.
Upton is having something of a resurgence in San Diego, batting ,257 with a .748 OPS, while hitting 21 home runs through 179 games, and the last couple of months the Padres have decided they’ll try and move him. While the market isn’t that hot for non-pitchers, Upton is one of the few quality players who can make an immediate impact available for trade, which explains the interest in him. Even with the $16.45 million he’s owed next season, teams are going after him.
The Orioles, offering Ubaldo Jimenez and prospects, seemed like the more likely team to land Upton, but things have changed in the last 48 hours. The Blue Jays would love to fit him in along with Michael Saunders, Jose Bautista, Kevin Pillar and Ezequiel Carrera. Upton is versatile enough to succeed in a number of roles. He’s playing left field this season, but has mostly been a centerfielder in the past, and has enough third base time as well.
Drew Storen, who is having a rough season in the Blue Jays bullpen, might be sent in return, while the Blue Jays will agree to take on as much as possible from Upton’s salary so they don’t have to give up on too much minor league talent. They have a lot of considerations to make heading into the offseason, with substantial salaries of Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and R.A. Dickey coming off the books, although at least one of them will be back.
Interestingly enough, both the Orioles and the Blue Jays have shown interest in Andrew Cashner as well, which might suggest that the availability of one could be related to the other, and we could see both Cashner and Upton leaving San Diego together to the same team. As for the Indians, they were unwilling to part with players during the offseason, and while they’ve been linked to a number of hitting options over the last few weeks, they seem to be busy gauging prices and value, while not really showing who they’re willing to part ways with.