This week’s buzz has certainly revolved around the rumors of Justin Upton possibly moving on from Arizona. While most teams hang on to their young stars, there have been some great players traded by age 25 despite good production. This will be a rough overview of offseason trades to get an idea of what it takes to trade for someone like Upton.
The most recent trade was involving the likely AL MVP Miguel Cabrera after the 2007 season, his age 24 year. He, along with a declining Dontrelle Willis, were traded to Detroit for six young players. Cameron Maybin was the #6 prospect in baseball at that time, just getting a cup of coffee with Detroit before the trade. Andrew Miller was the #10 prospect before the ’07 season, but struggled in his first significant action for Detroit. The Braves have nobody that compares to Maybin and Julio Teheran would fit the Miller profile, though Teheran’s struggles were in AAA instead of the majors. Also included were:
- Mike Rabelo, a 27-year-old backup catcher
- Burke Badenhop, a 24-year-old sinkerballer in High-A
- Eulogio De La Cruz, a 23-year-old pitcher with a big fastball
- Dallas Trahern, a 21-year-old pitcher coming off a decent AA season.
Gus Schlosser is probably the best comp for Badenhop, J.R. Graham for De La Cruz, and Zeke Spruill for Trahern, while the Braves don’t have anyone like Rabelo. Cabrera was better than Upton is at that age, so it wouldn’t take this much to get him, but it would deplete the minor league system of most of the remaining talent.
For the next trade, we have to go back to the year I was born, 1985, to find the Rickey Henderson trade to the Yankees. Coming back to Oakland was:
- Jose Rijo, who had dominated the minors and reached New York at age 19
- Eric Plunk, a big, raw 20-year-old who also managed to be in the trade that returned Henderson to Oakland
- Jay Howell, a 28-year-old who had his first of many good seasons as a major league reliever
- Stan Javier, who posted a .271/.361/.413 line between AA and AAA at age 20, his only minor league season with an OBP below .400
- Tim Birtsas, a 23-year-old big lefty who was decent in A-ball
Teheran would be the closest comp to Rijo, Eric O’Flaherty for Howell, but no one else has much of a match. Again, Rickey was one of the best in the game at the time, so Upton wouldn’t require this much in return, but both of these trades are major hauls that have worked out better for the ones trading for the star.
The last trade marginally fits the situation, going back to 1981 and Garry Templeton getting traded to the Padres for Ozzie Smith. Surprisingly, Templeton is actually filling the role of Upton, as Ozzie was teetering on the limits of being able to hit at the major league level. Sixto Lezcano was included with Templeton, while marginal starter Steve Mura was included with Ozzie. While Templeton was not the player Upton is, he still ended up returning the Cardinals a Hall-of-Famer.
Upton is going to command a lot in return, and Arizona’s desire for a frontline starter or quality 3B or SS leaves the Braves with one trade piece, Kris Medlen. The D-Backs would probably also want someone like Todd Cunningham, leaving a tough decision for both sides. I, along with others, don’t think Wren would make this trade, but it would probably just as tough for Arizona to turn down. There is also a poll to let you weigh in on the trade.