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The Diamondbacks could listen to offers for Justin Upton

Jul 6, 2012, 8:39 PM EDT

Justin Upton Getty Getty Images

Here’s an interesting one. According to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of, the Diamondbacks would consider trade offers for Justin Upton if they fall out of playoff contention.

The Diamondbacks will enter play this evening at 39-43, seven games back in the National League West and 5 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race, so it’s a little too soon to waive the white flag on the season. In fact, Rosenthal and Morosi note that the D-Backs could target a third baseman if they make a playoff push in the days ahead.

Upton is no stranger to trade rumors, as Kevin Towers openly shopped him during his first offseason as Arizona’s general manager. We could see less sellers than ever before because of the extra Wild Card in each league, so if Arizona fades in the days ahead, it only makes sense to see if a contender is willing to give up a large haul of prospects.

Upton is batting .266/.348/.378 with seven home runs, 34 RBI, 10 stolen bases and a .726 OPS in 76 games this season. He signed a six-year, $51.25 million extension with Arizona back in March of 2010 which includes salaries of $6.75 million for 2012, $9.75 million for 2013, $14.25 million for 2014 and $14.5 million for 2015. While the 24-year-old outfielder has struggled a bit this season, Towers would shoot for the moon with interested suitors.

  1. urdoingitwrongreds - Jul 6, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Can I put the trade on layaway?

  2. JustMeMike - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Not happening. I’ve no ax to grind about Ken Rosenthal’s reporting skills – but there’s both more here as well as less. While Upton’s cost numbers are not prohibitive now – they very well might be in 2014 and 2015.

    So the D-Backs GM gets himself out in front of the wave. Basically he’s not dealing Upton as much as he’s saying – overwhelm me and I’ll listen and then we’ll see. Never hurts to listen.

    From the other side, this is the verbal equivalent of the sharp stick being jabbed at Upton who either needs some goading, or he needs to wake up and smell the coffee, or he needs more protection AND MORE POSITIVE PRODUCTION FROM HIS TEAMMATES in the lineup.

    Then again – I’m not playing for Gibby, so I have no idea how it is to work there.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:50 PM

      If I’m Brian Cashman, I overwhelm him. A 24 y.o. superstar who plays a position that’s about to be a hole for you and whose contract is $8.5M/year for LT purposes is available? Do what it takes. The D’Backs have taken a shine to Mason Williams and Tyler Austin? They can have them. They want to take a chance on Manny Banuelos get healthy and back to where he was last year? He’s all theirs. Jose Campos? Gary Sanchez? Dante Bichette? Done, done and done. I have no idea what Arizona’s financial situation is, but if they wanted, say, Jason Kubel off their hands, I’d take him. Players like Justin Upton just don’t become available before they peak and with three and a half years of control left. When they do, you don’t let them slip away.

      • JustMeMike - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:16 PM

        Good reply Kevin – with Swisher’s contract expiring after this season – The Yankees might just SAVE money by dealing for J-Up. I think J-Ups $$ numbers for the next couple would be less than Swisher’s quote.

        Can’t see the D_Backs looking at Gary Sanchez as they just re-upped Miguel Montero – who I though would at least stay on the Free agent market long enough to listen to an offer from the Yanks. As for Yanks catching – Russell Martin likely won’t be asked back. Figuring the Yankees go with Romine, Sanchez, and Cervelli for the next few.

        Mason and Austin look good – but the Yanks as you suggest are win NOW guys.

        The only thing is that reputation that The Ups have. Even BJU can’t get his game going this year and it is a contract year. For sure he’s overrated. Prolly J-Up is better than he’s shown.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:44 PM

        Yeah, I knew Montero had been re-upped (although I didn’t realize it was through 2017), but that doesn’t mean you don’t trade for a valuable prospect at the same position. As offense-first, defensively questionable catchers, there’s a chance either Sanchez or Montero would have to move off the position before Sanchez is ready to catch in the bigs. Sanchez could be used in a trade to get other pieces the D’Backs need, or Montero could be shipped off for prospects himself if the D’Backs are looking at an extended period of non-contention. I agree about Martin not being any kind of long-term solution, but Sanchez turns twenty this year and just got promoted to High-A. 2015 seems like the absolute earliest conceivable ETA, and that’s if there’s no hiccups. Besides, JR Murphy’s a little older and a little closer. If the Yanks are going internal for a catcher in the next couple years, it’s probably between Romine, Cervelli and Murphy, not Sanchez. Anyway, I wouldn’t let that stop the trade up if Arizona wanted him.

      • Ben - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:12 PM

        This is actually an interesting notion that the Yanks would make a play for him to replace Swisher, and for the first time in a long time the Yankees actually have a relatively fecund farm system. I still can’t imagine it actually getting done, but it might make some sense for the Yankees. I can’t imagine how Arizona comes out ahead though giving up Upton.

      • djpostl - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:36 PM

        Back loaded deal and you want to flip Banuelos, Campos, Sanchez or whomever? Not a fuckin chance. The guy is nothing more than a prospect (based on his incredible inconsistency) and would wreck your plan to get under the luxury cap in 2014.

        And the cap number in 2014 is far more important than anything Upton brings to the table. You make that happen and you free up 30+ million per season that is currently being spent on a tax for actual talent.

        Even in his best season Upton doesn’t justify that, at his average season anyone who says he does is a fool.

      • Ben - Jul 7, 2012 at 12:00 AM

        A 24-year old player who has put up 15.5 WAR already and you say he’s nothing more than a prospect? There’s something wrong with your head, brother.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 7, 2012 at 12:03 AM

        Nothing more than a prospect. Are you serious? Two-time All Star (both justified). Hasn’t had a full season with a below-average OPS+ or wRC+. Averaged 25 HR, 20 SB and a .288/.364/.503 line over the past three seasons. Plus defensive right fielder. Have I mentioned that he hasn’t turned twenty-five yet? You absolutely back the truck up for a guy like that. Oh, and as for his contract being back-loaded? It’s irrelevant. MLB, in its infinite wisdom, decided that the luxury tax would be based on the average annual value of a player’s contract, not what he’s being paid in any given season. That means that through 2015, Justin Upton only counts for $8.5 million each year. For a superstar. Seriously.

  3. btwicey - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    No chance

    • kpow55 - Jul 7, 2012 at 4:15 AM

      The rare D-Backs fire sale. Only happens once a year. Way to build a winner and a fan-base.

  4. randygnyc - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    I can see the Yankees calling, but I wouldn’t give up much, maybe a couple of middling prospects. Either of the Uptons carries big risks, with their reputation of being lazy and underperforming. The D-bags should be happy to dump his contract.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:00 PM

      Who’s lazier, Justin Upton or randy for assuming anybody named Upton is lazy?

    • dan1111 - Jul 7, 2012 at 3:16 AM

      All players involve risk. The only thing unique about Justin Upton is the incredible amount of value he has produced through the age of 24.

      In a completely unrelated note, I wish you were the general manager of the Yankees.

  5. icanspeel - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    I dunno, minus a few players I think any team would listen to offers for any of their players. Doesn’t hurt to listen, but realistically many players such as Upton would only move if another team grossly overpays.

    • dan1111 - Jul 7, 2012 at 3:18 AM

      You know the article is crap when you get to this line: “Arizona general manager Kevin Towers historically has been willing to discuss any player on his roster.”

  6. dondada10 - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    What would you offer if you were the Mets, D.J.? I’d start with Wilmer Flores, Dan Murphy and Matt Harvey. Throw in Matt Den Dekker and you might have a start.

  7. bigmeechy74 - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    I would try to get an elite prospect for this guy… someone on the level of profar or machado. I remember when BJ upton was so awesome during that run the rays had to the WS a few years ago. I thought the sky was the limit for him. Then he turned out to be so disappointing. I thought Justin was going to win the NL MVP this year before the season started. I drafted him in both of my fantasy leagues in the first round. Then i realized he is just “BJ 2.0”

    • Kevin S. - Jul 7, 2012 at 12:08 AM

      Yeah, except for the fact that BJ has never in his career had a year as good as the one his brother posted last year when he was twenty-three years old. But yeah, they’re brothers so that means they’re the same player. Get a clue.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jul 7, 2012 at 12:49 AM

        Obviously Justin is better but the he looks like he could be a disappointment just like his brother. It’s only been half a year but would you be shocked if they ended up similar?

      • Kevin S. - Jul 7, 2012 at 1:08 AM

        Actually, yes. First of all, I don’t really think BJ has been a disappointment. Maybe the expectations were a bit outsized, but is it his fault that people built him up to be more than he really was? And what’s he’s been is actually fairly solid. Above-average offense from an above-average defensive center fielder? Take that and run. And Justin is in fact better, and has been at a younger age. He’s having a rough half season. That doesn’t mean it’s time to start raising red flags, and if Kevin Towers is foolish enough to ship him off over it, I want Brian Cashman to be on him like a leech.

  8. kingmeech - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    Jellsbury and lavarnway get it done Ben

  9. bigleagues - Jul 7, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    I think JUpton got Kevin Towers message. That was a nice piece of hitting off of Kershaw tonight.

  10. yahmule - Jul 7, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    Upton will never realize his full potential until he shows he can produce when he’s less than 100%. Justin’s track record thus far suggests he is great when completely healthy and very average when he’s trying to play through minor injuries. I don’t see him as the type who is going to respond particularly well to motivational tactics, either. He has worn the can’t miss superstar label since he was a teenager and it seems like that self perception insulates him from external criticism. I wouldn’t rush to trade him (or any extremely talented player for that matter) but I would definitely consider all options.

  11. sheriffpeyton18 - Jul 7, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    J Up needs to go!!! The fans want Parra in the outfield and he’s hungry!!!

  12. stairwayto7 - Jul 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Sent him to Tampa with his overrated brother so they can both underachive together!

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