Is Now the Time to Trade Justin Upton?

So the pundit echo chamber buzz of the week is about the Diamondbacks listening to offers on Justin Upton, their 25 year old RF coming off a down season. You may remember him from such posts as, “I Thought He Would Win MVP this season.”

Needless to say, I saw a good deal of potential in Upton entering this season and haven’t lost a ton of faith in him after a meh 2012.

But should the Diamondbacks trade him?

As always, it depends. If someone makes a really good offer, you should always take it, but if we’re talking about reasonable offers, I would argue it depends a lot on what players you get back.

That sounds like a stupid answer, but I mean it in a very specific way. You should trade Upton now if you’re getting back big league players. For example, Dave Cameron at Fangraphs evaluated an Upton for Andrus deal. That’s a deal you take.

But if it’s for prospects, I’m waiting.

But not because I’m someone who wants to see proven talent and all that, I’m waiting because this is the wrong time to trade Upton. His value is never going to be lower. He’s coming off a down season that followed a great year. You’re selling low on your most valuable asset if you deal him now.

That’s a fine strategy if the deal you want won’t be available during the season. The Rangers won’t deal Andrus or other big league pieces in July. So if you want an MLB level guy, pull the trigger.

If you want a massive prospect haul, wait. Those guys will be available in July because the team you’re dealing with won’t have to subtract from the big league team to get Upton, and they’ll be more desperate. The options will be more limited.

There are 3-5 OF on the market right now who can be as good as Upton in the short run. At the 2013 deadline, that number should be much lower.

Hold on to Justin Upton because he’s either going to help you contend in 2013 or bring you a bigger return than dealing him now.

Tigers Perspective: Lots of people are asking if the Tigers should target Upton, but I can’t see them doing it. I don’t know for sure what Arizona is asking for, but I think you’re talking about Castellanos, Smyly, and more. That’s a high price to pay for a player coming off a down season. The Tigers have a loaded 3-4-5 combo for the next two seasons and a solid leadoff man. They need depth more than they need star power. Pass.

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