Justin Upton rumors continue to circulate; up to 12 teams interested


It’s rivalry day across the college football landscape, but somehow, Justin Upton is still making his way into the MLB offseason headlines, as more rumors and speculation on where he might go popped up before kickoff this afternoon. This was the tweet that started it all, from John Hickey of Bay Area News.

The Athletics, of course, made big news yesterday when they traded Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays, and don’t look to be done. However, the Braves aren’t only receiving interest from Oakland. As a matter of fact, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, there are upwards of 12 teams interested in the power hitting outfielder, but as Heyman notes, there’s only one team that could give the Braves a sizable return plus an arm.

"The Mariners are one of a handful of teams linked so far to Upton, although quite a long list could potentially be in the outfield market. The thing is, though, the Mariners are also one of a few with the type of pitcher that could interest the Braves. Walker is young (22), hard throwing, has a little major-league experience (2-3, 2.61 in 2014) and is still under control for six more seasons.– Jon Heyman on why a Braves/Mariners deal makes sense"

The Walker in question is Tijuan Walkerone of the top not just pitching prospects, but top prospects in all of baseball. He made five starts and appeared in eight games for Seattle last year, and finished with a 2-3 record and 2.61 ERA. He made 16 starts in the Mariners system before the call up, and went 7-4 with a 4.37 ERA in 82.1 innings pitched.

Heyman also noted that the Braves are looking for more of a return for Justin Upton than what they got in the Jason Heyward for Shelby Miller deal a couple of weeks ago. You’ll notice in Heyman’s article that Evan Gattis is mentioned just briefly at the end of the article – which is interesting since if there’s a deal with Oakland, it’ll be what the Braves get in Jeff Samardzija as a kicker, and not Gattis being kicked in by the Braves.

The Braves aren’t the only team who are linked to Samardzja, as it was confirmed that he’s also in talks with the Chicago White Sox, among other teams.

It seems clear that the Braves will move one or both of their power-hitting “outfielders” before the spring rolls around. The only question is whether they’ll accept a below-value guy or be able to grab a key building piece for 2017 and beyond.