Justin Upton and the Red Sox have one thing in common—they both need a fresh start. A clean slate where any past stats and criticisms are forgotten. So why not combine the two, and make Upton a Red Sox?
Upton hasn’t reached his peek. Some believe that he has, but he’s just 25 years-old. Most 25 year-olds haven’t even entered the primes of their respective careers. OK, so he has been sub-par this year. His .330 WOBA isn’t terrible, but Upton set the bar very high after putting up MVP type numbers last year. The main concern amongst Diamondbacks people are his deflated power numbers. Upton has hit just 12 home runs to accumulate a .411 SLG%. In comparison, he smashed 31 long balls last year.
So, why would Boston want to take on such an inconsistent asset? Because new GM Ben Cherington needs a piece to build around. Next year is when he begins his renovation process. Ex-GM Theo Epstein left him with a lot of work to do, while he quickly escaped the scene. Now, this is Cherington’s time to shine.
Acquiring Upton would be a step in the right direction for starters. Not only because he’s a building block, but also because he’s still relatively cheap. He doesn’t require Josh Hamilton type money, yet. In a few years? Yeah, Josh Hamilton money is realistic. But, the earliest that Upton could demand that type of money is 2016, so the Sox would have some time to juggle the budget around.
Plus, Upton is a better option than Hamilton at this point. Sure, with all this freed up money, Hamilton to Bean-Town seems like a good possibility. The Red Sox have always been big-time spenders, and Hamilton will soon be demanding a massive contract. Perfect fit, right? Not so fast. Hamilton is good. MVP good for that matter. But his abundance of drug problems and injuries doesn’t make him worth the contract he will demand. At the age of 31, he’s not getting any young either.
If the Red Sox want to cut down on their spending, Upton is their guy. If they want to put a dent in their future, Hamilton is their guy.
However, people will have their doubts about Upton in a Red Sox uniform, and respectively so. One of those doubts will be how will he handle the big market pressure. With pressure comes the vastly high expectations, the grueling media, and of course, the fans. It’s no walk in the park. And it’s a whole different animal compared to Arizona.
But the change from a quiet Chase Field to the lively Fenway Park could spark Upton. I’m not saying that the adjustment will be a breeze, but good players are good players. Nothing can change that. All Boston could do is bring new life to Upton which wouldn’t be doing any harm. There might be a few more boos or a few more standing ovations, but the change of scenery isn’t going to change Upton’s talent level.
When you start to piece Boston’s outfield together with Upton, the future suddenly seems a lot brighter. Of course, Boston just can’t sit back and let the pieces fall where they may, because acquiring Upton isn’t the only step in this plan. Locking up Jacoby Ellsbury long term is a huge part of the plan. He’s injury prone, but when he’s healthy, he’s an MVP candidate as he proved last year when he accumulated a 9.4 WAR which led the A.L. At 29, he’s still in the midst of his prime too. If the Red Sox can lock him up long term, their outfield is complete. Ryan Sweeney can play left, Ellsbury can play center, and Upton can play right. That trio is young and all three of them are still on the rise in their respective careers.
Upton is a tough commodity to attain, however. He’s definitely not going to be cheap, but the Red Sox have the pieces to swing a deal. Right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes and shortstop Xander Bogaerts could both be the centerpieces in the deal. Arizona would obviously want a bit more in return, but the Sox can complete the deal if they really wanted Upton.
It’s simple. The Red Sox crave some new blood, while Justin Upton would benefit from a change of scenery.
I think so.