The Mets won’t meet the Padres’ asking price for Justin Upton

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The Mets acquired third baseman Juan Uribe and infielder-outfielder Kelly Johnson from the Braves on Friday in exchange for two minor league pitchers, but they aren’t done trying to upgrade their weak offense. The biggest name on the market is Padres outfielder Justin Upton, but CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Mets have been turned off by the team’s lofty asking price.

The Mets and Padres are currently at an impasse in talks involving star San Diego outfielder Justin Upton after the Padres asked for at least one high-end prospect back, and possibly two.

The Mets walked away after a suggestion that included a big prospect or two and no payment toward Upton’s $14.5-million salary, though it isn’t known whether they could resume talks at some point.

Upton is due to become a free agent after the season, so this would purely be a rental situation. Getting multiple premium prospects in return is probably unlikely, but the Padres should still be able to do better than the compensatory draft pick they would get if they kept him and made a qualifying offer this fall. Helping cover some of his remaining salary could sweeten a potential match with the Mets and other contenders.

Upton, 27, is batting .248/.326/.420 with 15 home runs, 49 RBI, and 17 steals over 91 games this season. He got off to a strong start in San Diego, but has struggled for the past two months.

In their search for an outfield bat, the Mets have also been linked to Upton’s teammate Will Venable, as well as Gerardo Parra and Carlos Gomez of the Brewers and Jay Bruce and Marlon Byrd of the Reds.

Report: Padres acquire Tommy Pham from Rays

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Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres have acquired outfielder Tommy Pham from the Rays in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and Single-A middle infielder Xavier Edwards. The Padres are also expected to receive an as yet unknown prospect from the Rays.

Pham, 31, is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility and is projected to earn $8.6 million for the 2020 season. This past season with the Rays, Pham was valued at 3.7 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference, playing solid defense while batting .273/.369/.450 with 21 home runs, 68 RBI, 77 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases over 654 plate appearances.

Renfroe, 27, is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two player. MLB Trade Rumors projects him to earn a $3.4 million salary in 2020. He’s coming off of a campaign in which he set a career-high in home runs with 33 while batting .216/.289/.489 with 64 RBI and 64 runs scored across 494 trips to the plate.

Edwards, 20, was selected by the Padres in the first round (38th overall) of the 2018 draft and was ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the organization, per MLB Pipeline. He spent 2019 between Single-A Fort Wayne and High-A Lake Elsinor, batting a combined .322/.375/.396 with 27 extra-base hits, 43 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 34 stolen bases in 561 PA.

The Padres needed to upgrade the offense in the outfield as the club ranked in the bottom-third of the league with an aggregate .740 OPS from all three outfield spots. The club sent Franmil Reyes, who put up an .849 OPS for the Padres over the first four months of 2019, to the Indians at the trade deadline. Wil Myers put up a slightly below average .739 OPS and Manuel Margot posted a light .691 OPS.

It will be interesting to see if the Rays can level up Renfroe. He certainly hits for power but he will need to work on his on-base skills if he is going to help this trade pan out well for the Rays. Edwards will help as well, as he is rated No. 72 overall among prospects across the league, according to MLB Pipeline. Along with the talent acquired in the trade, the Rays save a bit of money swapping Pham for Renfroe.