It’s the day of Orioles-Padres related rumors. Going along with an earlier rumor that the Orioles were scouting Padres starter Andrew Cashner on Thursday, there’s also this from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick: The O’s have talked to the Padres about outfielder Melvin Upton.
Oh, but it’s even better than that! Ken Rosenthal adds that the Orioles are discussing with the Padres a swap that would send Ubaldo Jimenez to San Diego. He also says a trade is not close, and that the Padres would want a prospect in addition to Jimenez. Now, THAT is interesting.
Acquiring an outfielder as well as (or instead of) a starter would be a bit of a swerve, but maybe the O’s feel like this is their best chance to improve. Rule 5 pick Joey Rickard is on the shelf for 4-6 weeks, Buck Showalter said following Friday’s game. Nolan Reimold has a .618 OPS since the beginning of May.
What both of those things mean is that there’s room for the Orioles to improve their outfield situation. Is Upton the guy? I don’t know. I guess it depends on the deal.
Upton will be owed about $10 million for the remainder of this season, and he’s signed for $16.45 million for next season as well. That’s a lot of money for a guy who, over his current contract, has produced a .221/.292/.361 batting line.
Things have gotten better for Upton since going to the Padres, though, and he’s working with a .260/.309/.448 this season. Not great, but it’s something - especially since he’s a righty batter who hits left-handed pitchers better. If he was going to be a platoon bat, well, that’s a lot of money for that too.
There’s also a good chance that Upton would represent a bit of an upgrade defensively, though it’s not clear where they might choose to play the 31-year-old (32 next month) when Hyun Soo Kim returns.
Upton over in right field would probably be an improvement over Mark Trumbo in that spot, though Upton has played most of his innings in left field for the Padres this season. He’s been good as a left fielder, +9 Defensive Runs Saved. That’s someone who will be getting to more line drives.
With the Orioles clearing Jimenez’s money in the process, that changes the equation further. Between the rest of this season and next season, Upton would cost about $5 million more. Still, it makes sense that the Padres would want the O’s to give up a prospect. Upton is the more immediately useful player. San Diego would have to try to reclaim a guy with a 7.38 ERA this season. That’s a project.
As ever, remember the first rule of baseball rumors: Probably nothing will happen. This one would sure be something though, wouldn’t it?