I’ve had this feeling for about two weeks that the time between the All-Star Break and the trade deadline is going to be an intense period of time for Pirate fans. I mentioned it in this post; whatever happens in this season happens, but it seems clear to me that we’ve entered a new phase in the Neal Huntington plan; a phase where the front office moves from straight talent acquisition to a more directed acquisition phase to try and build a complete team that can compete.
At FOX Sports today, Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Pirates are interested in upgrading their offense at this trade deadline by acquiring Carlos Quentin or Justin Upton. Quentin’s not a surprising name to find on the list; he’s having a big year in a park that hitters aren’t supposed to have big years in out in San Diego and he’ll be a free agent after the season ends. He might cost a little more than a guy like Derrek Lee did last year because demand for him should be high, but he’d ultimately be a fairly cheap rental player.
Upton’s an entirely different story. He’s already one of the NL’s best outfielders at 24 years old (he was sixth in the NL in position player WAR last year) and he’s signed through 2015 to a contract similar to Andrew McCutchen’s. He’s having a down year in 2012, but he’s a fantastic young talent. I’m one of those guys that’s been sitting here steadfastly saying all year that players like Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon and Starling Marte are more valuable to the Pirates than they are in a trade, but when it comes to a player like Justin Upton … that’s not necessarily true. It’d cost a TON of prospects to get Upton here (I’d say probably Marte and one of Taillon or Cole, just for starters, plus some other middle-tier guys), but it’s something that the Pirates would have to be insane not to consider. Of course, we have no idea of what Arizona is asking for right now (the Pirates will almost certainly refuse to give up Cole and Taillon, and to be honest I’d have to think that Cole is about as close to untouchable as prospects get), and so we have no idea how far this will go, but it’s sure exciting to think about. The thought of Justin Upton and Andrew McCutchen in the same lineup … that’s something you can dream on.