UPDATE: 11 January 2013
Justin Upton, as reported by Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, has rejected a trade with the Seattle Mariners that would have sent Upton to Seattle in exchange for Charlie Furbush, Nick Franklin, Stephen Pryor and a choice of James Paxton, Danny Hultzen or Taijuan Walker.
While the GM of the Diamondbacks has consistency denied all the trade talks around Upton this is sure to like a firestorm from both Upton supporters and people that want to see him traded. Now the question is where. Seattle is off the table so team like the Texas Rangers, and Atlanta Braves are back in the mix. Don’t dismiss teams like the Boston Red Sox or NY Yankees who always look to make a splash. We will keep you updated and the status right here.
It has been a long two years for Justin Upton in Arizona. He is yet again a topic of trade conversations as the Arizona Diamondbacks are peddling their surplus of outfielders, more specifically Jason Kubel and Upton. This is the third time that I can remember, that he is part of trade conversations during that time frame.
The brass in Arizona appears to feel he is under-performing compared to expectations. The 25 year former #1 pick of the 2005 amateur draft out of Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, Virginia is apparently not living up to his six year/ $50M contract he signed in 2010.
Upton debuted with Arizona in 2007 after a call up directly from AA. They were so high on him he bypassed the AAA Tucson Sidewinders (at that time) and was brought up to the show. In his first six years with the Diamondbacks Upton has a career line of: .278 BA, 108 HR, 363 RBI, 438 Runs, 80 SB and a .475 slugging percentage with a cannon arm from the outfield. In his 731 games played since being called up he has a total Wins Above Replacement or WAR of 13.1 two years removed from a very solid 5.7 WAR in 2011.While these numbers might not be what the Diamondbacks envisioned when they signed his six year deal they are far from poor.
So the Diamondbacks want to trade Upton, but where? There are a lot of teams that could use the services of a young talent like Upton. Teams like the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves could all use his talents and would most likely appreciate that he is under team control for a few years. There are some problems when considering where Upton should go however. Then of course the darts on the wall are the deep pocketed Boston Red Sox and NY Yankees who might just want to make a splash to appease the fan base.
The Diamondbacks are fairly deep when it comes to young pitching and that is the major chip the Mariners or Braves have to offer. Arizona is most likely looking for help at an everyday position like shortstop where they were abysmal last year and also lost Steven Drew to the Red Sox during free agency.
Would the Texas Rangers part with an Elvis Andrus since they have raw Jurickson Profar (ranked as the #1 overall prospect in the minors by Keith Law of ESPN) waiting in the wings? Maybe they would consider a larger package deal for Upton but that is all for the guys behind the doors to decide.
Even if any of these teams wanted Upton there are a couple of other concerns. Upton has put down roots on a very high-end custom home in the Phoenix area and he is the proud owner of a no-trade clause which will only make Arizona’s job that much harder when trying to move him. Then again maybe Upton is just sick of all the talk and might just agree to go and move on from all the on again off again trade speculation.
Arizona is asking a hefty price for the former #1 overall pick but they might end up trading Kubel instead and keeping Upton. Regardless, it appears the roller coaster that is the Justin Upton trade saga appears to continue down the tracks.