cliff

Phillies, Diamondbacks talking about a Justin Upton-Cliff Lee swap?

We have a new, crazy rumor in relation to Justin Upton. The Phillies and Diamondbacks are reportedly discussing a swap that would send Upton to the Phillies for oft-traded starting pitcher Cliff Lee (and likely, a giant pile of cash as well). The prevailing logic is that the Diamondbacks would then move Lee to another team in exchange for the shortstop they desire. Other sources indicate that the talks are baseless, but the rumor has at least been floated out there.

Arizona GM Kevin Towers' desire to acquire a top flight shortstop is just getting ridiculous at this point. If the Upton-Lee swap is completed, the Phillies obviously get a lot better in the outfield at the cost of running their rotation down to Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and young pitchers like Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick, Tyler Cloyd, and the like. It would also clear some money off the books for the Phillies, which could be an issue in the future thanks to the monstrous salaries being paid to Hamels and Ryan Howard.

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But back to the Diamondbacks. This is a team on the verge of contention. Hell, they won the NL West in 2011. Dealing a blue chip, elite talent like Upton to to upgrade at shortstop is…bizarre. Elvis Andrus isn't going to put Arizona over the top. Andrelton Simmons isn't going to put them over the top. It just seems extremely odd to me that the Diamondbacks would be willing to trade their best player *just* for an upgrade at one position, let alone a position with a low replacement value. The league average shortstop in 2012 had a .685 OPS, a .300 wOBA, and a 86 wRC+. You know what Willie Bloomquist did for Arizona in 80 games? He produced a .723 OPS, a .314 wOBA, and a 90 wRC+. It's not as if the Diamondbacks MUST HAVE an elite shortstop to compete. The Giants won the World Series with Brandon Crawford (little more than a glove with legs) at short. Going all-in while searching for that elusive Nomar Garciaparra/Derek Jeter/Alex Rodriguez/Miguel Tejada type isn't practical in 2012, and Towers could potentially cripple his team if he thinks that a player like Andrus or Simmons is the missing piece of the puzzle.

About Joe Lucia

Joe is the managing editor of The Outside Corner and a contributing author at Awful Announcing. He lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is stuck somewhere between tolerating and hating Pittsburgh and Philadelphia sports.

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