We all know that Upton being traded to the Mets is a “pie in the sky” dream. The Mets have the prospects to get the deal done and certainly have a huge need. However, assuming the cost is anywhere near what the Mariners offered I can’t see Alderson pulling the trigger. So while this post is going to compare Beltran and Upton, it isn’t necessarily to say that Upton can be the Mets version of Carlos. Anyway, lets get into it:
|Season 2||23/21||07/26 ||69/129||.05/4.8|
|Season 3||24/22 ||24/17||123/110||5.4/3.0|
|Season 4||25/23 ||29/31||114/141||5.6/6.4|
|Season 5||26/24 ||26/17||132/107||6.8/2.5|
As you can see while Beltran’s WAR numbers stayed for the most part consistently higher (due in most part to Beltran play in CF) their HR and OPS+ are very similar to each other.
I also see a lot of similarities in how these players are/were perhaps portrayed. Often they were labeled with not performing up to their potential, mental lapses, not “hustling”, not a “gritty player”. In my opinion Beltran, always unfairly labeled, was able to shed those labels from any sane minded baseball fan to where he now sits on the border of a HOF player.
This is not to say that Justin Upton is on a HOF path through age 24. Upton has been consistently good so far in his career but only has one really good and one elite type season. That being said how many 24 year-old players can say that? His 108 HR by age 24 is certainly impressive as is his 17.1 WAR total in his first 5 years. As a measuring stick, Stanton has 13.1 through his first 3 years as well as 93 HR but obviously he’s a beast. Back to my point, will Upton’s path resemble Beltran’s where at age 26 he put up an OPS+ of 132 and never looked back except for injuries? I don’t expect Upton’s WAR to jump to consistently near or over 6 again due to his defense and base-running. He also, while fleet of foot is not going to be as efficient as Beltran who is known as one of the best base-runners of his generation. However, I do think that Upton once able to put whatever the issues are in Arizona behind him can consistently be a 5 WAR player who can hit in the middle of any lineup.
Now back to the obvious, the Mets dream. Honestly, I would not be surprised to see Detroit go all in for another player. They clearly see their window as right now and adding Upton to that lineup would scream of an unfair competitive balance. However, for the Mets, if they could Santana this deal and hold out long enough they could get a steal. Remember that because of Johan’s no-trade clause the Mets were able to offer what most in baseball said was a lesser package to bring the CY Young winner in and extend his contract. To me this would be key with the Mets as well. Let it be known that you would give Upton an extension, then offer the best deal you feel comfortable with, put it out there and be patient. I could see something along the lines of Flores, Syndergaard, Familia/Mejia, Tapia/Montero and a filler being the absolute best the Mets could or would offer. It was rumored that no team was willing, other than the Mariners to offer 2 top pitching prospects. While none of these three in this package are the Mets best pitching prospect you would be getting 3 high upside pitchers and a hitter that could be close to MLB ready for your 3B hole. That’s a hefty price to pay but one that the Mets depth could allow them to do.
Is it worth that to find out if Justin Upton can follow Beltran’s path?