Three days after the New York Post reported that the Atlanta Braves are shopping outfielder Justin Upton, sources told ESPNDallas.com that the Texas Rangers have inquired about trading for Upton. According to the report, the Rangers' plan to move Shin-Soo Choo from left to right field requires an additional corner outfielder—hence the interest in Upton.
The Rangers, who according to ESPN Dallas had tried and failed to acquire Upton in previous seasons, also view Upton's contract favorably. The Braves outfielder will make $14.5 million in 2015, the final season of the six-year deal he signed with Arizona before he was traded to the Braves in 2013.
Another interesting tidbit from the ESPN Dallas report is that the Rangers "would also be interested in acquiring a pitcher from the Braves" in a potential Upton deal, though the NY Post's article from Friday noted that the Braves will ask for an even bigger return when trading Upton than what they received from the Cardinals when they traded Jason Heyward last week.
Upton, who turned 27 in August, hit .270/.342/.491 last season with 29 home runs and 102 RBI. He has been one of the more reliable hitters in the league during the past six seasons, posting above-average wRC+ totals every year and playing in at least 149 games in each of the past four years. Though defensive metrics rate Upton as a poor fielder in recent years, he has a solid history in the field and could provide some value there as well given the volatility of zone rating statistics. He also played 150 games in left field last season, his presumptive position should he go to Texas.