St. Louis Cardinals: Eyeing Leftover Free Agents

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Justin Upton

Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

I feel as if Justin Upton is constantly being maligned by fans and the media for not living up to this impossible player everyone expected him to be after the Arizona Diamondbacks took him first overall back in 2005. Then former Dbacks GM Kevin Towers labelled Upton a losing player shortly after shipping the outfielder off to the Atlanta Braves in 2013 for a few spare parts.

I’ve never seen anyone punished more for hitting 31 dingers in a season than Upton. Because when he did that in 2012, everyone seemed to say, “Oh, okay. Now he’s reeeeaaaallly going to take off.” But he didn’t, and that’s when the grousing began. Look. Upton hit in a lineup that included both Stephen Drew AND Lyle Overbay. Paul Goldschmidt wasn’t the stud he is now, either. All opposing pitchers had to do was pitch around Upton, and everything would be fine.

Next: National League Competition Revisited

Pitchers did the same thing after he went to Atlanta and San Diego. Upton was the only nice and shiny new offensive acquisition for the Padres who lived up to his billing. Wil Myers? Uh uh. Matt Kemp? Nope. Derek Norris? Wait, who?

I wouldn’t mind seeing the St. Louis Cardinals pony up some cash for Upton, then give the guy a nice, stable winning environment where he doesn’t feel like he has to look over his shoulder every day. Because even under those stressful circumstances, he’s been a 4.0+ WARP player. I’m fine with that (while secretly hoping he does better. Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone.)