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San Diego Padres trade Melvin Upton to Toronto Blue Jays

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UPDATE 2: Young right-hander Hansel Rodriguez is the player going to San Diego in a straight one-for-one swap.

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014, the 19-year-old is 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in six starts this year at the Rookie-level Appalachian League. That comes with a 7.2 strikeout per nine and 3.1 walks per nine average. According to’s latest prospect rankings, he was 18th in the Blue Jays farm system.

As Heyman had noted earlier, the Blue Jays will pay only $5 million of Upton’s salary in the next two years. That means San Diego will be lumped with the remaining $16.6 million due.

Clearing Upton off their roster will allow the Friars to give playing time to some of their young outfielders like Manuel Margot. 24-year-old Hunter Renfroe would seem to be the best most logics option to fill Upton’s spot given his age and the fact he is hitting .331 with 25 homers, 27 doubles and 87 RBIs at Triple-A El Paso.

UPDATE: Jon Heyman is reporting the Padres will pay down “a lot” of what is owed to Upton. That would have made the trade even more attractive for Toronto given the risk involved.

They are now getting a potential difference maker at a fraction of the approximately $21.6 million he is owed.

ORIGINAL: San Diego Padres outfielder Melvin Upton is headed to Toronto, with FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal confirming that a rumor initially thrown around yesterday had come to fruition.

Who San Diego receive in return is not yet known, but Rosenthal suggests that it will be one of the Blue Jays Class-A prospects.


This all comes after Rosenthal tweeted yesterday that Toronto were the front-runners for Upton’s services.


The 31-year-old Upton had been scratched from San Diego’s lineup each of the last two days as the team hoped to find a trade partner, and now they have just done that with Toronto.

Throughout his career, Upton has been an above-average baserunner and defender while offering solid value at the plate. In 2016 he’s hitting .256 with 16 home runs, 11 doubles, and 45 RBIs while also stealing 20 of 25 bases. The issue has been a very concerning strikeout rate, punching out in 28% of his plate appearances this season compared with a walk percentage of just 6%.

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Toronto has Michael Saunders, Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista as their starting outfield with Ezequiel Carrera on the bench. Upton could be used in a platoon with Saunders or as the Blue Jays fourth outfielder having started 77 games in left field this year and playing nearly 10,000 career innings in center.

Neither Upton nor Saunders has a dramatic left-handed/right-handed split in their careers, though this season Upton has hit southpaws to a .282 average. That’s 35 points higher than his average against righties, so perhaps the Blue Jays could use him in a platoon situation rather than as the fourth outfielder.

It’s worth noting that Jose Bautista has experienced a natural decline in production with age starting to catch up to the 35-year-old.

Now in the final two seasons of a five-year contract, Upton will be paid $15.45 million in 2016 and $16.45 million in 2017.

The Baltimore Orioles had previously been said to be interested in him, though San Diego clearly preferred what they were offered by the Blue Jays.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]