In case you haven’t heard by now, The Cubs were reportedly offered Braves outfielder, BJ Upton in exchange for Edwin Jackson. To some Cubs fans, this deal would be a no brainer, Jackson hasn’t performed well, and any deal to get him out of a Cubs uniform should be warmly accepted. However, the Cubs denied the Braves request, and neither player was dealt. The Cubs and the Braves would eventually make deal that sent Victor Caratini to the Cubs for James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio.
There are more than a few reasons the deal didn’t make sense for the Cubs. Perhaps the most evident reason is money.According to multiple sources, this deal would have been a 1-for-1 transaction, and would have seen the Cubs pick up more money. Since the genesis of the Theo era, Epstein has called for trimming the payroll, and building from there with young talent. Upton, 30, has seen his production seemingly fall off the planet since joining the Braves last year. Upton is signed through the 2017 season, whereas Jackson is signed through the 2016 season. Upton is also more expensive, and according to WAR, is the worse of the two. The deal would not have made an ounce of sense for the Cubs. Yes, Edwin Jackson has been struggling, but BJ Upton isn’t much better.
Upton would be taking up room in an outfield that may already be packed. By 2017, when his contract ends, the Cubs outfield will be packed. Between Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, Arismendy Alcantara, Kyle Schwarber, and whomever the Cubs acquire in that time, the Cubs won’t have the room to keep Upton. While the Cubs have made a name out of taking former top prospects, and helping them realize their potential, they don’t come with a 46 million dollar anchor. If the Cubs are serious about contending for top free agent pitchers, Max Scherzer or Jon Lester, they need to be conservative with their money until then. Taking on a contract like Upton’s would go against nearly everything Epstein has tried to do. Ultimately, that’s why Upton isn’t a Cub, and that’s why we’ll see Jackson through the rest of 2014.