Padres still in on Justin Upton?
The Padres made one of the biggest splashes at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, pulling off a trade for former Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp. But they’re not done acquiring bats, as MLB.com’s Corey Brock writes. And their next move could be another big one.
The #Padres remain one of the clubs pursuing J-Up. I wouldn’t be shocked if J-Up and Kemp are together in San Diego next year.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) December 12, 2014
That obviously would be a huge offensive upgrade for the Padres, who finished last in the Majors in 2014 in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. By pursuing big names like Kemp, Pablo Sandoval, Yasmany Tomas and now Upton, it’s clear the Padres have made bolstering their lineup a top priority.
Upton is under team control for one more year, and he’s set to make $14.5 million next season. With Kemp slotted in one corner-outfield spot, Upton would fit nicely in the other corner.
The 27-year-old Silver Slugger Award winner hit .270/.342/.491 with 29 home runs and 102 RBIs last season. By comparison, Padres right fielders hit .228/.291/.339 with nine home runs last season.
All of the Padres’ outfielders last year combined to hit .234/.307/.347 with 29 homers. So, yes, Upton on his own matched the home run total of the entire Padres outfield.
If San Diego can pull off a deal for Upton, the club would be left with far too many outfielders for three positions, necessitating at least one trade.
Carlos Quentin might be the easiest to move, as he could be useful to American League teams looking for a designated hitter. The Padres also could try to trade Seth Smith, who’s signed to a two-year, $13 million extension and coming off a career year.
Other options include center fielders Will Venable and Cameron Maybin. Venable struggled to a .224/.288/.325 batting line last year, however, and Maybin has played on 109 games the last two years combined.