Mariners Trade Rumor Series: Talking Upton With Braves Writer


According to Dave O’Brien, the Seattle Mariners are talking to the Atlanta Braves about trading for Justin Upton. Personally, I don’t see the trade working out if the Braves require Taijuan Walker to be included in the deal.

But any trade is a good trade for the right price, so what would it take for the Mariners to acquire Justin Upton from Atlanta?

We have brought in the editor of ATL All Day, Brad Rowland, to answer this question and more.

Mariners Trade Rumor Series: Justin Upton

Emerald City Swagger: The only real issue with Upton’s numbers are his defense. He has had a negative DWAR in eight of his nine years in the majors, and regularly leads MLB outfielders in errors. Are those numbers indicative of Upton as an outfielder?

Justin Upton (left) commits a two base error in front of center fielder

B.J. Upton

(right) against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

ATL All Day: Defense certainly isn’t a strength for Justin, and at 27 years old, it probably won’t get better. I don’t think Upton is a giant negative defensively, but because he was billed as a plus-type defender (especially in left field instead of right field), he has been a disappointment in that aspect of the game. He is probably a step up from the DH-type players who are often stuck in left field in order for their bats to play, but league-average is his ceiling right now.

ECS: What would it take for the Braves to part with him?

AAD:  Personally, a deal with Taijuan Walker as the centerpiece makes the most sense, and that is a move that I would endorse on the Atlanta side. Given Upton’s potential propensity to fight against a long-term deal, it may be a slight overpayment for Seattle, but Paxton doesn’t present the same type of upside, and there would likely have to be something additional in a package alongside him.

ECS: What if any, could be possible hitches in a trade for Upton?

AAD: Because Justin Upton previously declined a deal to Seattle, he may be totally averse to re-signing. Clearly, I don’t know that and if anyone does, they aren’t saying it, but it would be a tall task for the Mariners to part with one of their elite guys for one season of Upton.

ECS: Ultimately, do you see a deal getting done for Upton? And how do the Mariners compare in terms of what we have to offer compared to other teams?

AAD: I do believe that Justin Upton is traded, although I’m not sure where he’ll land. All indications are that Upton is now the guy that is most “on the market” for Atlanta (with Evan Gattis as the other potential player), but right-handed power is scarce right now, and the Braves are asking for a lot. If Seattle were to part to Walker in the deal, they would jump to the front of the line in terms of potentially available packages, but without that, they could be stuck.

This post is part of a series in which ECS conducts Q&A discussions with writers who cover teams that may be potential Mariners trade partners. Look out for future posts featuring conversations about Troy Tulowitzki, Yoenis Cespedes, and Matt Kemp!