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The D’Backs have told Justin Upton they might trade him

Jul 15, 2012, 10:04 AM EDT

justin upton getty Getty Images

It’s for real: Arizona may be moving Justin Upton.

Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic on Saturday that he’s spoken with the 24-year-old outfielder about the trade rumors that have been swirling and admitted that there’s some legitimacy behind them.

“I listen on everybody,” said Towers. “We’re in the information-gathering business. ‘If something gets close,’ I said, ‘you’ll be a part of the process. I’m not going to shock you with something.’ … ‘If anything, you should look at it in a good way that people like you, not just the Diamondbacks, but you’re perceived very, very well throughout baseball.'”

Upton, 24, owns a solid .276/.356/.476 career batting line through 662 major league games. He finished the 2011 season with 31 home runs, 39 doubles, 21 stolen bases, 88 RBI and a cool .898 OPS.

The D’Backs have him under contract at $6.75 million this year, $9.75 million in 2013, $14.25 million in 2014 and $14.5 million in 2015. They’d like to get a third baseman, a shortstop and/or starting pitching in return.

  1. alang3131982 - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    trading him would be insane and inane

  2. burm61 - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Please make the move Cleveland

    • tashkalucy - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      “They’d like to get a third baseman, a shortstop and/or starting pitching in return.”

      Lets see…..

      The Indians 3rd baseman is 35 years-old and going downhill/

      They have a real nice SS in Astrubal Cabrara, but they don’t even have a back-up for him to play SS.

      And they are looking for another starting pitcher because they need one so badly.

      Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti have been running the Indians front office for years. They may well be the most mediocre front office in all of baseball. They want to acquire good players, but they have nothing in their farm system due to terrible drafting and poor development. They have 2 sensational relief pitchers, 2 starters that blow hot and cold, and 4 everyday players that are decent, none of which qualifies as a star.

      Congrats to Manager Manny Acta and his staff for somehow keeping the team in the race with the awful roster he was given to work with.

  3. surefooted1 - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    This should be a buyer beware type of situation. Upton is a player a GM like Towers should love. The fact that he is considering trading him should be a cautionary tale.

    • alang3131982 - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:31 AM

      What possibly could the cautionary tale be?

      Only 42 players accumulated more fWAR in their age 21-23 seasons than Justin Upton.

      Justin Upton has the 112th highest fWAR through his age 24 season, with 1.5 fWAR in second half, he’ll have 84th best fWAR

      Juan Gonzalez thru age 24 season: .274/.327/.523 with 140 Hrs, 14 SBs; JuP: .276/.357/.477 with 98 HRs and 72 SBs

      Tony Conigliaro thru age 24 (albeit missed a season): .271/.336/.492 with 124 HRs and 12 SBs; JuP: .276/.357/.477 with 98 HRs and 72 SBs

      Andruw Jones through his age 24 season: .268/.337/.487 with 150 HRs, 106 SBs; JuP: .276/.357/.477 with 98 HRs and 72 SBs

      • surefooted1 - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM

        You just answered your own question. Why would Towers be willing to trade a player like Upton? Why was Colorado willing to trade Ubaldo? Didn’t seem right either did it?

      • alang3131982 - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:43 AM

        I’d suggest he’s not really willing to trade him but saying this to placate his stupid owner. Or maybe Kevin Towers is just stupid. He tried to trade him in 2010 and then Upton went out and had an MVP-caliber season.

        There were pretty clear warning signs with Ubaldo who had a phenomenal half year and Ubaldo’s value would probably never be higher.

        Upton was worth more in the off-season. It’s not hard to see him having a tremendous year next year. He’s cheap and under control for a long time. You think Towers has some inside information on Upton that no one else in baseball can find out? Doubt it.

        The idea of trading Upton has been basically termed a head scratcher by almost everyone else in baseball.

        If you can find anything in his performance that would suggest he isnt worth his contract or near a decline go ahead. You could do it with Ubaldo.

        If i’m the Orioles or any other team, I’m offering my top prospect and laughing if the Dbacks take Dylan Bundy back for an OF that will be an All-star for the next 8+ years.

      • alang3131982 - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

        “Many in the baseball world still seem to be trying to make sense of why the Diamondbacks might look to trade Upton, who last year finished fourth in MVP balloting as he helped the Diamondbacks win the NL West. Rosenthal reported Thursday that executives with other teams believe that the Diamondbacks “are not convinced that Upton is a winning player.”” from Nick Piecoro’s recent column…

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 15, 2012 at 1:36 PM

        Why would Towers be willing to trade a player like Upton? Why was Colorado willing to trade Ubaldo? Didn’t seem right either did it?

        It’s far more complex than that though. Or I could counter with saying, why did the Rangers want to trade Arod? IIRC Jiminez was unhappy with the Rockies because they were giving away long term deals, and Jiminez wasn’t getting one. A bunch of back and forth bickering, and they traded him. That he hasn’t worked out* isn’t a notch in favor of the Rockies, considering the crap they are putting out now.

        *Unless this was a reason for trading him; however, no one referenced it at the time so to do so now would be a bit disingenuous.

      • purnellmeagrejr - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:10 AM

        alang – WHy are you showing such favoritism to By Justin rather than your other son?

    • Sign Ahead - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      I think alang3131982 has a very good point.

      The team’s owner is angry with how they’re playing this year and he has a history of lashing out when he gets angry. I, and a lot of other Diamondbacks fans, are worried that he may trade Upton just to punish the team for performing poorly.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      I don’t think you understand the expression “cautionary tale”. Perhaps “red flag” was what you were looking for?

  4. azvikefan - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Trade him or Parra and get some pitching Towers.

    • hoopmatch - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM

      Maybe they can get Dempster from the Cubs for him…

      • azvikefan - Jul 15, 2012 at 9:48 PM

        I’ll take that trade.

  5. noozehound - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    we’ll give you Liriano… straight up… (tee hee)

    • azvikefan - Jul 15, 2012 at 9:47 PM

      No thanks. I’m a Twins fan too and Liriano is NOT GOOD anymore. He’s afraid.

  6. tightend42 - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    They have the better of the Upton brothers. Tampa has B.J. and he isn’t worth crap. A bit of an attitude, very fast, no bat at all.

  7. paperlions - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    I’m not sure why they would consider trading him….but I really don’t know why anyone would trade all that FOR him. His entire career, he has hit fine in the great hitting environment in the desert, and he’s hit like a SS without power on the road. Yeah, he’s still young and should be just about to enter his prime, but the lack of advancement in his hitting the last few years (especially in more hitter-neutral environments) should worry people trading for him.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      He has a career .162 ISO on the road, so that’s hardly a powerless shortstop. You can’t simply use H/R splits and assume a player’s road splits are his true talent. For all players, there’s been an observed advantage to playing at home independent of park factors, and Arizona/Colorado players have the additional crimp of playing a significant percentage of their road games in AT&T, Dodger, and Petco – almost a third of Upton’s career road PA are in those three stadiums.

      Also, I’m not sure I buy the “lack of advancement” thing with Upton. He played through an injury in 2010. When accounting for that, he’s shown pretty steady improvement for four years before a bad three and a half months.

      • paperlions - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM

        His career road wRC+ (which is park and league adjusted) is 94. Yes, I realize that all players have some H/R split, but this difference is FAR beyond the expected split. He also gets to play a lot of games in Coors, and AT&T is a neutral park, not a pitchers park at all. His road parks aren’t that bad.

        Fine, he’s hit like an slighly above average SS on the road. Still a H/R split of 44 pts in wRC+ is huge and can’t be explained by anything but an inabilitty of the adjusted metrics to capture the full benefit of hitting in AZ. Most elite hitters seem to have about a 10-15 pt difference, but still hit well on the road. He is a completely different hitter away from AZ.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 15, 2012 at 1:02 PM

        Out of curiosity, do you know what Matt Holliday’s H/R wRC+ split was before he left Coors Field? Is he playing down to his road wRC+ for you guys?

  8. randygnyc - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I said it last week. The kid has tools. But he also carries a reputation of laziness and unfulfilled potential. If a guy hits 25 home runs a season, but could be hitting 40, something is wrong.

    • A.J. - Jul 15, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      What exactly do you think is fulfulled potential for a 24 year old?

      I know secret player comparisons are cliche, but here it is:

      Player A:
      Age 22: .342/.373/.521 10 HR, 10 SB in 311 PA
      23: .290/.340/.459 18 HR, 35 SB in 657 PA
      24: .297/.352/.490 26 HR, 34 SB in 667 PA
      25: .249/.310/.450 28 HR, 19 SB, in 668 PA
      Trades rumored. Potential Unfilled. Player rumored to be lazy.

      Player B:
      Age 20: .250/.353/.463 15 HR, 1 SB in 417 PA
      21: .300/.366/.532 26 HR, 20 SB in 588 PA
      22: .273/.356/.442 17 HR, 18 SB in 571 PA
      23: .289/.369/.529 31 HR, 21 SB in 674 PA
      24: .268/.351/.393 7 HR, 10 SB in 339 PA
      Trades rumored. Potential unfulfilled. Player rumored to be lazy.

      Player A is Matt Kemp and hit .324/.399/.586 with 39 HR and 40 SB the next season. Player B is Upton.

      I’m not saying that Justin Upton will be Matt Kemp. All I intend to say is that guys under 25 just have down years from time to time. It does not mean they are lazy, or done growing.

      The dude is 24 and he is being written off as unfulfilled potential after ONE HALF of a season, the year after his best season yet? Ludicrous.

  9. johnnyb1976 - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Control for multiple seasons, sounds like a move that Walt Jockety would make but for who Todd Frazier is way to valuable to the reds right now. Maybe Hiesey and some pitching

    • paperlions - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      Frazier, Cozart, and some pitching probably wouldn’t be enough to get him.

      • alang3131982 - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        it better not…..good lord if that’s all they get…

      • paperlions - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        Yeah, I know….just cracks me up how fans think their roster scraps might get a highly regarded young player.

  10. whodeytn - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Get him in a Reds uniform!!!

  11. novanation33 - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Mets need to make a big offer ASAP.

    Matt Harvey plus two players of the D’Backs choice: Duda, Nieuwenhuis, Valdespin, Flores.

    • brewcitybummer - Jul 15, 2012 at 7:55 PM

      Arizona already has two pitching prospects better than Harvey in Skaggs and Bradley, not to mention Bauer. And none of those borderline major leaguers you named move the needle on Upton. So that’s not the big offer you were looking for.

  12. theawesomersfranchise - Jul 15, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Pirates will send Marte and Heredia and maybe Hanson to the DBacks for Upton, but you won’t see Cole or Taillon as part of the deal imo

  13. mj1818 - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    I would like to think Taillon and Cole are untouchable, as much as it would pain me to see Marte go I think it would be a safer move.

  14. gloccamorra - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    alang may have given the real answer:

    “Or maybe Kevin Towers is just stupid. He tried to trade him in 2010 and then Upton went out and had an MVP-caliber season.”

    Stupid like a fox? Upton says he busts his butt, but he should be showing consistency by now with his talent and experience. What Upton considers busting his butt may be nowhere near the work ethic people expect, especially Arizona fans whose opinion Upton doesn’t care about.

    Upton may be “cheap” now, but $14 million is a lot to pay for a guy with a world of talent who never reaches his potential. The history of the game is littered with guys like that, and both Uptons look like they’re in that category.

    • A.J. - Jul 15, 2012 at 5:09 PM

      “What Upton considers busting his butt may be nowhere near the work ethic people expect, especially Arizona fans whose opinion Upton doesn’t care about.”

      You left out the part where you said, “I have no idea whatsoever if he works hard. I’m just going to assume he doesn’t because he’s having a bad year and because his brother never got to be as good as we thought he would, so they must both be lazy.”

      • Kevin S. - Jul 15, 2012 at 5:31 PM

        Not enough thumbs for this. Excellent.

  15. buffalo65 - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    The reason a trade is possible is the jays have interest and the horses to get it done.

  16. razorbyrd - Jul 15, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    bring him to the Nats, send Anthony Rendon, Steve Lombardozzi & John Lannan to ‘Zona…

    • A.J. - Jul 15, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      An injured guy, with a history of injuries who at age 22 has 6 professional plate appearances, a utility guy, and a 27 year old pitcher who isn’t even good enough for your major league rotation,

      for a 24 year old with 3 full years left on an affordable contract and 16 fWAR in the majors?

  17. johnnyb1976 - Jul 15, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    I wouldn’t consider Frazier, or Cozart scraps the reds are a first place team with 2 rookies on their left side. Cozart has a big offensive upside and is very solid defensively and if the reds didn’t have Frazier who knows where they would be without his bat. The Reds also have enough very good minor league pitching to make any deal they want. I think paperlions has a little bit of Red envy.

    • Alex K - Jul 15, 2012 at 5:53 PM

      I’m pretty sure paper isn’t the one that is wrong about this.

  18. mathieug79 - Jul 15, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Justin Upton to the BlueJays for Hecheverria, Yan Gomes, Jake Marisnick, Deck McGuire

  19. Scott Holzman - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    Some combination of Corcino, Stubbs, Hoover, Soto, and Gregorious?

    and if something like that happened, the farm would be totally effed.

    • Scott Holzman - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:11 AM

      plus leake*

      sorry, leake is a big part of that.

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