By FRANK WARD
The Red Sox, Yankees, Angels and even the
Devil Rays are among the top teams mentioned in the Jayson Werth sweepstakes. However, the Arizona Diamondbacks, not other teams’ bank accounts, may have more to say about what Werth ultimately gets on the free agent market.
The Diamondbacks are exploring dealing 23-year-old stud super prospect Justin Upton. Arizona would get a a bundle in return for Upton, who hit .273 with 17 HRs and 69 RBI. He also had 152 strike outs and 64 walks.
Upton is a solid player and his $49.5 million salary over the next five years gives teams payroll certainty. He’d likely give you more than an aging Werth by the end of the deal at a far better price.
A team like Boston is rumored to be interested in Upton. If Boston made such a deal, and if the Yankees indeed do not go after Werth as has been rumored, two large bidders would be out of the running. That could keep the Phillies as contenders in the Werth Derby.
Of course, could the Phillies make a run at Upton themselves? Sure. But, with Arizona looking to deal the outfielder for guys who can play now, that is highly unlikely. Unless Ruben Amaro can fleece Arizona with guys named Ibanez, Valdez, Francisco, Blanton, and Lidge, you shouldn’t expect Upton roaming right field in CBP next year.
Still, keep an eye on this situation. Upton to Boston could be good news to Werth’s Philly fans.