Is Justin Upton a Good Fit for the Orioles?

With Justin Upton Still on the Trade Market, Could He Part of Baltimore's Future?

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Is Justin Upton a Good Fit for the Orioles?
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Justin Upton shows up in rotation for the All Star Game

COMMENTARY | If you were following the news around baseball Friday morning, outfielder Justin Upton of the Arizona Diamondbacks turned down a trade to the Seattle Mariners.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the two teams had a deal done; however, everything was contingent on Upton's approval.

The Mariners were ready to send the Diamondbacks pitchers Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor, infielder Nick Franklin and pitcher Taijuan Walker. All the names mentioned are prospects, and Walker is projected to have the highest ceiling of the group according to baseball experts.

The Mariners have been looking for a bat this offseason and Upton could have made a difference out there with their offense; however, it looks like Seattle along with the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs are part of his no-trade list according to ESPN.

I could imagine Upton turned down the trade to Seattle because of their relatively large ballpark, which in turn would potentially affect his offensive numbers.

Upton has long been rumored to be a candidate to be traded from Arizona due to his relatively affordable team-friendly contract (under control for another three seasons and will make $9.75 million in '13), the franchise's finances and a perception that he is not happy with the team.

Arizona general manager Kevin Towers has made it known that Upton is available - at a price.

Upton, 25, who has played six years in the majors, all with the Diamondbacks, has a career .278 average with 108 homers and 363 RBIs.

His breakout year was in 2009, where he hit 26 homers with 86 RBIs and .300 average along with a 2.8 WAR. His OPS was .899.

In 2011, Upton had his best season in the majors as he batted .289 with 31 homers, 88 RBIs, a .898 OPS and a 5.7 WAR.

The 2012 season for him was a disappointment in many eyes as he compiled a .280 average and only had a 2.1 WAT. He hit 17 homers and 67 RBIs in 150 games.

According to most media sources, both the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves would be considered the front-runners for Upton.

As it is, the Rangers probably have the most talent available for a deal. The Braves are also considered favorites due to his older brother, B.J., joining the team this winter on a five-year, $75 million contract.

Therefore, with the Orioles still looking for a bat, are they too in the hunt for the young slugger?

The Baltimore Sun's Edwin Encina noted in an article Tuesday morning that the Orioles have indeed inquired about Upton. As of right now, the talks between the two teams have quieted down due to what Arizona wants in return.

Upton is a player that could do well at Camden Yards considering his raw talent. One could assume that Upton may be recharged playing for a franchise that came off a playoff run in 2012.

Now the question is this: Would Upton be a good fit for the Baltimore Orioles? In my opinion, yes, he would be.

First, the Orioles would have Upton for the next three years and would make their everyday lineup more formidable based on the available options on the market. The team needs a middle-of-the-order power bat, and Upton fits the bill.

Second, at only 25, Upton may not even be in the prime of his career as of yet and his ceiling as a player is even higher than what the world has seen so far.

If Upton is acquired by the Orioles, he could bat either third in their lineup, in the cleanup sport or fifth. He has a good batting eye and would complement Adam Jones, the powerful Chris Davis and Matt Wieters in the middle of Baltimore's lineup.

Upton - who is a right fielder for the Diamondbacks - probably would shift to left, as Nick Markakis is the incumbent right fielder for the Orioles and Jones would play in center field. Although Upton is not quite the defender that either Jones or Markakis is, Baltimore fans would surely salivate with an outfield that could be quite the offensive force in the American League East.

One would imagine that the Diamondbacks would want a number of prospects, and would want Manny Machado, Dylan Bundy, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton or Kevin Gausman in any potential deal. As well, we all should assume that the Diamondbacks would want some premium and close-to-major-league ready pitching arms in return.

I would think that most fans would be comfortable including anyone else in a deal aside from Bundy, Machado or Gausman.

Based on what the Seattle Mariners offered, it would take quite a haul for Baltimore to snare away Upton from Arizona. As of now, the Orioles are still trying to rebuild their minor league through the draft and their farm system is fairly thin past Bundy, Machado, Gausman and outfielder Jonathan Schoop.

Right now, I do not see a compatible deal between the two teams.

Upton is a good fit with the Orioles for several reasons: however, the potential cost for the Orioles to acquire him would perhaps be way too high for most fans to stomach.

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Anthony Amobi has been blogging about the Baltimore Orioles for the past seven seasons at the Oriole Post (http://oriolepost.com).

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