There’s only a few scenarios where a trade of B.J. can happen. Either the Braves will have to take on a bad contract or they’ll have to part with an attractive piece in tandem with B.K. Regardless, they’re almost certainly going to have to pay a portion of the $46.5 million remaining on his deal.
Seattle could be possible fit. They fell a win short of the playoffs and, with Oakland facing a reboot and the aging Angels lacking pitching depth, are probably the favorite to win the AL West in 2015 — assuming they add some bats, particularly right-handed ones.
Here’s my offer: B.J. and Gattis (plus $23 million to cover half of Upton’s contract) for outfielder Michael Saunders and reliever Charlie Furbush. Seattle would take on about $18 million in salary in return for the right-handed power bat they covet, one under team control for four years.
The Braves would get a left-handed corner outfielder who’s yet to reach his potential but appears poised to turn the corner. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik singled out Saunders in a year-end press conference, saying he needs to improve his conditioning. It was broadside that took people by surprise, so it’s difficult to gauge the merit of his critique.
Saunders played in only 78 games last year but posted the best batting average, OBP and slugging percentage of his career: .273-.341-.450. He’s also demonstrated better plate discipline and his strikeout rate has declined steadily over the last three seasons. He has two years remaining until free agency.
Furbush, a power southpaw, limited lefties to a .594 OPS in 2014, .568 over his career. He might be a luxury the M’s are reluctant to part with, but might as well ask.
Seattle would probably prefer to deal Austin Jackson, who came over from Detroit at the trading deadline and put up B.J.-esque numbers, striking out 59 times in 54 games with a .537 OPS. He appeared poised for stardom in 2012, when he hit .300 with an .856 OPS. Still, Jackson — who made $6 million this year and will be a free agent in 2016 — would be an improvement and, unlike Saunders, can play CF, though advanced metrics indicate he’s not much better than B.J.
Thoughts? Please keep them realistic, remembering that no team is going to give up something of value for Upton alone.