The New York Yankees are still looking for a right-handed bat, but that may not be Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton.
According to Fox Sports, New York hasn’t made a move for Upton since he vetoed a trade earlier this week that would have sent him to the Seattle Mariners.
In that deal, Arizona could have received up to four pitching prospects for the 25-year-old outfielder, but Seattle, along with Boston, Toronto, and the Chicago Cubs, are all on Upton’s no-trade list.
The Yankees current starting outfield is made up entirely of lefties, while the mostly righty infield is mired with injuries. Alex Rodriguez could be out for an extended period of time to start the season due to hip surgery, and short stop Derek Jeter's recovery from ankle surgery leaves New York’s offense in doubt.
That leaves first baseman Mark Teixeira as the best righty bat in the lineup, though second baseman Robinson Cano is capable of switch hitting.
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The same report suggests New York could move outfielder Curtis Granderson, since he will be a free agent after next season. Upton is still owed $38.5 million over the next three seasons, but that deal would be far cheaper than retaining Granderson with a lengthy extension.
New York is trying to keep payroll below the luxury tax threshold of $189 million, which they’ve done so far by signing short-term contracts with Ichiro Suzuki and pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, and avoided a long-term deal with last season’s save leader Rafael Soriano.
The Yankees were also linked to Washington National utility man Mike Morse, but he reportedly did not want to be a designated hitter.
Numerous teams have chased after Upton since July. The Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves showed the most interest, but reports say Arizona was asking for too many of their young prospects in exchange for the two-time All-Star.