For a team that's supposedly not interested in acquiring him, the Yankees sure have been connected to Justin Upton a lot this offseason. The latest rumor, as reported by Jon Morosi of FOX Sports on Sunday, has them interested in putting a package comparable to what Seattle offered together for Upton but, according to Morosi, also being unwilling to take on the 3 years and $38+ mil still owed to Upton. Morosi suggests trading Curtis Granderson to Seattle as a way to help cut payroll in advance of trading for Upton, but this is where the train starts to come off the tracks.
First, trading Granderson to make payroll room for Upton would basically be a lateral move for 2013, not a move that improves the team. Is an Upton-Gardner-Ichiro outfield any better than a C-Grand-Gardner-Ichiro one? Maybe just a little if Upton rebounds to his 2011 form, but giving up prospects and trading away your best outfielder to get marginally better makes no sense. And if the hold up really is not wanting to add payroll, then trading Granderson is hardly a fix for that. He's coming off the books after this season anyway, so to move him now and weaken your 2013 outfield when he doesn't really affect the 2014 payroll anyway would be a classic "robbing Peter to pay Paul" scenario.
Most of what was discussed in Morosi's piece was his own speculation and hypothetical scenarios, but it wouldn't surprise me if there was some truth to it based on how the Yankees have conducted their business so far this offseason. If money really is the hold up with Upton, then it's another example of the payroll goals getting in the way of smart baseball decisions.
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