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Agent fights back against “gutless people” ripping Justin Upton anonymously

Jul 16, 2012, 4:49 PM EDT

Justin Upton Getty Getty Images

Trade rumors are swirling around Justin Upton and his agent, Larry Reynolds, is upset about what he feels are anonymous attacks being made against the Diamondbacks outfielder through the media.

Reynolds told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that trade rumors “are part of the business” and something Upton understands, but “what I don’t like are the comments and innuendos made about Justin’s work ethic and character, especially from those gutless people that don’t want to put their name by a quote.”

He’s certainly got a point, as numerous reporters both local and national have taken to quoting unnamed sources offering their opinions on Upton and most of those opinions are negative while often focusing on something other than his on-field production.

One prominent example was Ken Rosenthal of writing recently that “team officials are not convinced that Upton is a winning player” and that’s probably one of the tamer things being said. To which Reynolds insists:

This young man is one of the hardest workers I’ve been around and more importantly, he’s a good person. If they want to trade him, that’s their business, just knock off the unfounded, negative rhetoric.

Of course, it’s worth noting that while the media has passed along the negative comments about Upton from unnamed sources Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick was very open about criticizing Upton (and shortstop Stephen Drew) last month. It also doesn’t help matters that general manager Kevin Towers has been so open about his willingness to trade Upton, which naturally has people speculating about why he’d want to part with a 24-year-old two-time All-Star who hit 31 homers and stole 21 bases last season.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Kind of reminds me of the Rasmus situation last year. Have no fear Upton as AA is after you. An outfield of Upton, Rasmus and Bautista would be awesome.

  2. braddavery - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Doesn’t really make sense for a team trying to get as much value as they can for a guy, to trash him personally to the media.

    • paperlions - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:09 PM

      It doesn’t, but the Cardinald did it to Rasmus for over a year, and more intensely as his inevitable trade loomed.

  3. randygnyc - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    It’s no secret that both of the Upton brothers are lazy underachievers. BJ sets the pace though. Justin could be saved. He just has to attend a de-lazi-fication camp.

    • paperlions - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:14 PM

      Being an legitimate MVP candidate at 23 yrs of age = lazy underachiever?

      I don’t think you could possible be wrong more often if you tried to do so on purpose.

    • paperlions - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:14 PM

      Being an legitimate MVP candidate at 23 yrs of age = lazy underachiever?

      I don’t think you could possibly be wrong more often if you tried to do so on purpose.

  4. yahmule - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Who knew rabbit ears were contagious?

  5. rollinghighwayblues - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Did I hear the word “gutless”?

    Just call up Mike Rizzo and Jim Tracy and they’ll definitely sniff out the sources of such claims.

  6. swamann - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Insert “BJ” into this article and this is what the brother gets every year. Saw a stat yesterday that said there are only 7 players in MLB history with 100 HR and 200 SB before the age of 28…BJ would the 8th player with 2 more HR before mid August. Unfortunately, he is a sub .250 hitter and strikes out way too many times for my liking.

    • hittfamily - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:22 PM

      I don’t know if non Rays fans remember this, but last year BJ and Longo got into it in the dugout. BJ had misplayed a ball and let it get past him. He then loafed to it, and lazily threw it in. It allowed the batter to get all the way to third. Longo ripped into him in the dugout, because they were in a bad skid as a team, but obviously still in the race.

      I bring this up, because the Rays were playing the DB’s at the time. Justin was having a monster season and series. His parents and family were probably at the game, and he was likely embarassed to be the lesser of the 2 Uptons. Joe benched him for a few games, and that was the last problem the Rays have had with him (other than k rate). He seems to be a stand up guy, and is good in the community, but has been unfairly branded a troublemaker because of 1 or 2 instances of laziless and carelessness.

      Maybe he will be boosted because of the struggles his brother is now facing, and resurrect a very promising career. Unfortunately, another way to look at it is that Justin may have had his fluke year like BJ had in 07, when he was a sure bet to be a 10 time all-star.

      • hittfamily - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:27 PM

        It was ’10, not ’11. Everything else was accurate. I’m older than I thought. Here’s the vid if anyone remembers it, or not.

  7. randygnyc - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Paper- funny how you seem to think I created this narrative. His own GM obviously has similar concerns. This very article acknowledges that this perception has reached the national media.

    I said it yesterday, just because a guy hits 25 homeruns, doesn’t make him a superstar, if you expect him to hit 40. Somewhere in between those numbers is growth, maturity and discipline. Towers believes Upton is lacking, possibly in all 3 areas.

    • paperlions - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      I expect you to make smart comments. Does that make you a lazy under achiever? Or does it mean that my expectations may not be reasonable given your natural abilities?

    • oltanya - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      I expect everyone in baseball to hit 100 home runs. Nobody is a superstar.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:07 PM

      If you expect any CF in baseball to hit 40 HR, you either think this is still the late 90s or are watching a completely different ballgame.

  8. vallewho - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    I personally don’t think Upton is a “superstar” caliber player. The GM and organization may want him to be “that guy” and gave him the money, but that doesn’t mean the player did anything wrong by not living up to that expectation. Hype is hype. Maybe the people under the gun/scrutiny should be the people that made the decision to give him the money.

    Anyway, if I was Upton, I would want out of this 3rd rate organization.

    • oltanya - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      30 homers and 20 steals at age 23 pretty solidly implies superstar.

      • vallewho - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:09 PM

        it means a very good year. no guarantees.

  9. randygnyc - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Church- it was publically stated, and often, that the Yankees believed granderson could be a 40hr a year guy. I didn’t have to look too far or too hard for a current example.

    • paperlions - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM

      Granderson is 31, Upton is 24. Power is something that tends to develop in its own time, and maxes out long after a player is 24.

      Through his age 23 season, Upton had 91 HRs. In the last 25 years, only ARod, Juan Gonzalez, Griffey Jr., Andruw Jones, Pujols, and Cabrera….and most of those guys had the benefit of the height of offensive production.

      • paperlions - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:31 PM

        Sorry, left out the part about only those 6 player had more home runs at that age…

      • stex52 - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:23 PM

        We got it, Paper.

  10. randygnyc - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Upton is on pace to hit about 13 home runs this year. Towers already expressed concern about his effort. All of these concerns will be red flags for any potential suitors.

    • Gonzo - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:25 PM

      When responding to a comment, please click the “reply” button. It’s ignorant when you create a new thread.

  11. x50cal - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    This is the problem with baseball none of you look at the big picture. His arm is weak in the outfield. He really isn’t that fast. His knowledge as a batter is weak. I am a dbacks fan and I can’t wait for him to be gone. The long ball is not the only thing to look at in baseball. His smarts as a ball player is completely lacking in all areas.

  12. randygnyc - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    I’m assuming you’re referring to me because every remark you’ve ever made in a thread I’ve posting has been a personal attack towards me.

    If thats the case, im going to show you how ignorant you are. If not, oh well. Anyway, I post using the NBC sports talk app. Exclusively. Funny thing, they don’t offer a reply feature. Just a comment button. This puts the comment at the end of the list. Also, no thumbs up/down ability, nor can they be seen. So, for the few times I’ve logged on from a computer, I know they exist. It’s not something that concerns me though. I don’t post for anyone’s approval/disapproval. I post because I want to. So until NBC fixes their apps on the iPhone and iPad, you can bitch at them.

  13. ravenseattheirownpoop - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Send him to the Pirates!!!

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