The 31-year-old has defied all expectations in a resurgent 2016 campaign, slashing .256/.304/.439 with 16 homers, 45 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 92 games. Not only was he one of the best hitters in the Padres’ lineup this season, he has also been a game-changer in fantasy leagues.
An afterthought for the most part on draft day (his NFBC ADP was 570), Upton has been one of the best and most consistent five-category performers in all of baseball. While at the outset, a move away from Petco Park and to the launching pad that is the Rogers Centre may seem like a boon to his fantasy value, there are some serious concerns at play as well.
For starters, the Jays are already pretty stacked in the outfield. With Jose Bautista, Michael Saunders and Kevin Pillar, there’s no clear path to everyday at-bats in the Jays lineup. Sure, he’ll find his way in there against left-handers, perhaps at the expense of Saunders, but the Jays will need to get creative in order to utilize their new weapon. Perhaps that means more time as the designated hitter for Jose Bautista while Edwin Encarnacion steals starts at first base.
Second, no team in the land has been running as wild as the Padres have been under manager Andy Green. Upton has had the green light on the basepaths all season, and has successfully swiped 20 bags in 25 attempts already. The entire Blue Jays team has only attempted a total of 47 stolen bases on the season (swiping 32). There’s a good chance he won’t be such a dynamic asset in the stolen base department.
Finally, it’s hard to predict just how the elder Upton brother is going to handle the move to another new team. We all bore witness to the disaster that ensued when he left the Rays after the 2012 season to sign a massive free agent contract with the Rays. The next two seasons he hit a combined .198/.279/.314 with 324 strikeouts in 910 at-bats. There were also questions about his effort and his dedication to the game of baseball. Things weren’t much better with the Padres in 2015, perhaps due to the sporadic playing time he received.
Upton has proven to be at his best when he’s in a comfortable environment and in the lineup on a nightly basis. Fantasy owners may need to consider doing what the Padres did on Tuesday, and deal him while he’s at his peak value.
As for the Padres’ side of the deal, Rodriguez, 19, owns a 3.06 ERA and 26/11 K/BB ratio across 32 1/3 innings at Rookie ball this season. He’s a long way from the major leagues, but is an intriguing power arm. In order to receive a decent prospect in return for Upton, the Padres were forced to eat a significant portion of his remaining salary. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Padres will cover $17 million of the $22 million remaining on his salary for this season and next.
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To the Gallos!
With Prince Fielder sidelined for the remainder of the season after undergoing neck surgery, the Rangers added some thump to their lineup on Tuesday by recalling 22-year-old Joey Gallo from Triple-A Round Rock.
His massive power was certainly on full display at the Triple-A level, slashing .246/.381/.557 with 19 homers and 47 RBI in 70 games at Round Rock. That’s on the heels of bashing 29 home runs across three levels in 2015, including six with the Rangers in 108 at-bats.
The biggest hurdle for Gallo continues to be his strikeout rate. In last year’s audition, the hulking right-hander fanned 57 times in 123 plate appearances (46.3%). He has improved that rate at Triple-A this season, but still whiffed 91 times in 299 trips to the dish.
Gallo immediately jumped into the starting lineup, batting sixth and playing first base on Tuesday. He also showed off his prodigious power, swatting a Sonny Gray offering over the wall in center field to get the Rangers on the board in the fifth inning.
As long as he can keep the strikeouts somewhat in check and prove that he can consistently make contact at this level, there’s no reason to think he won’t stick in that role and see consistent at-bats for the remainder of the season. If that happens, Gallo immediately becomes an interesting commodity in all mixed leagues, as that type of power simply isn’t easy to come by on the waiver wire.
Jose Reyes hasn’t been quite the offensive catalyst atop the Mets’ lineup that the club had envisioned when bringing him back earlier this month. In 72 plate appearances with the big league team, Reyes has slashed just .239/.278/.493 with three homers, eight RBI and three stolen bases.
Nevertheless, they are short on other options to hit atop their lineup and can’t really afford to be without him for a considerable amount of time. That’s why Tuesday’s injury is such a buzzkill.
Reyes tweaked something during his final swing in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Cardinals. He sat out the second game while undergoing further tests and was diagnosed with a Grade 1 intercostal strain.
He’s going to miss at least a couple of games, but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if this turned into a trip to the disabled list for the veteran infielder. Wilmer Flores is expected to fill in at the hot corner in his absence and could be worth a look in the short term, especially in NL-only and daily formats.
American League Quick Hits: Lorenzo Cain (hamstring) began a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday… J.D. Martinez (elbow) began a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo… The Red Sox have no clear timetable for Koji Uehara’s (pectoral) return… The Royals recalled Raul Mondesi from Triple-A, he’s expected to serve as the everyday second baseman… According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Indians have expressed interest in acquiring Eduardo Nunez from the Twins… Taijuan Walker (foot) will throw a simulated game on Wednesday… The Rangers designated veteran right-hander Kyle Lohse for assignment… O’s prospect Hunter Harvey underwent successful Tommy John surgery on Tuesday… Cameron Maybin has been battling a right rib cage injury, causing his recent absence from the Tigers’ lineup… Logan Morrison missed another game with his wrist injury, but is expected to return Wednesday… Desmond Jennings (hamstring) began a minor league rehab assignment at High-A Charlotte… Athletics’ manager Bob Melvin gave a vote of confidence to struggling closer Ryan Madson on Tuesday… Luis Valbuena was forced to leave Tuesday’s game with a right hamstring strain, which could necessitate a trip to the disabled list… Brett Lawrie will be placed on the disabled list on Wednesday due to his hamstring strain… James Shields fired 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a victory over the Cubs… Nelson Cruz fouled a ball off of his foot, prompting an early exit from Tuesday’s game… Kyle Seager had three hits including a homer as the M’s topped the Pirates… The Blue Jays and Mariners swapped struggling setup men, exchanging Drew Storen for Joaquin Benoit… David Ortiz clubbed his 25th homer in a loss to the Tigers… Steven Wright was blasted for eight runs in the loss … Francisco Lindor went 3-for-5 and delivered a walk-off RBI single to beat the Nationals… Josh Donaldson homered, doubled and plated three runs in a come-from-behind victory over the Padres in 12 innings... Kole Calhoun plated four runs as the Angels routed the Royals 13-0… Tyler Skaggs, making his first start since July of 2014, worked seven scoreless innings and struck out five in the victory… Rich Hill (blister) is tentatively scheduled to return on Sunday, provided he makes it through Friday’s bullpen session without issue.
National League Quick Hits: Dee Gordon (suspension) remains on track to rejoin the Marlins on Thursday… Clayton Kershaw (back) has still not been cleared to resume throwing and there’s a chance he could require season-ending surgery… Trevor Rosenthal landed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation… The Nationals activated Ryan Zimmerman (ribs) from the disabled list… Trea Turner made his first career start in center field on Tuesday… Julio Teheran (lat) had a successful throwing session on Tuesday, though it’s unclear when he’ll make his next start… Yasiel Puig missed his fifth straight game with a hamstring injury… Jake Lamb (hand) is expected to return to the Diamondbacks’ lineup on Friday… David Peralta (back) is expected to be activated on Friday… Zack Greinke (oblique) is scheduled to pitch in an Arizona League game on Friday… Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Padres are making progress toward a deal involving Andrew Cashner… Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that the Reds have “picked up the pace on Jay Bruce trade discussions”… Peter Bourjos was forced to leave Tuesday’s game with a shoulder injury after crashing into the outfield wall while taking a hit away from Ichiro Suzuki… Homer Bailey (elbow) will make his season debut on Sunday against the Padres… Cardinals’ top prospect Alex Reyes could make his major league debut on Saturday against the Marlins in Miami… Ichiro Suzuki went 1-for-5 on Tuesday, pulling to within three hits of 3,000 for his MLB career… Tom Koehler hurled six shutout innings in a victory over the Phillies… Gregory Polanco went 4-for-5 and belted his 13th homer in a loss to the Mariners… Lucas Harrell twirled six scoreless frames in a win over the Twins… Jedd Gyorko blasted home runs in both halves of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Mets and has hit seven bombs in his last nine games… Jonathan Papelbon allowed three runs without recording an out in a blown save against the Indians… Alex Dickerson blasted a three-run homer in a loss to the Jays... Bud Norris fanned six over 6 1/3 shutout innings in a win over the Rays.