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Report: Diamondbacks aiming for ‘premier’ starting pitcher

Jul 31, 2012, 3:22 AM EDT

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UPDATE: A deal could still happen, but if it does, Justin Upton will NOT be involved.

3:22 AMThat’s the word from FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal. He doesn’t know who it is they’re targeting, but he believes they might be willing to use Justin Upton and/or a top pitching prospect to get it done.

There’s maybe only one possibly available starter in baseball worth both Upton and an arm from the group of Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs and Archie Bradley, but the Mariners keep saying that they aren’t trading Felix Hernandez. The Diamondbacks would likely be aiming for a young, cost-controlled starter, but any team willing to trade one of them might not be interested in taking on Upton’s salary.

So, who could it be? Tampa Bay’s James Shields? I don’t think he fits the bill here. Jeremy Hellickson might be more to Arizona’s tastes, but the Rays can’t really afford to pair both Uptons and they’re isn’t much incentive for them to trade Hellickson for two top pitching prospects when they have plenty of pitching as is.

Boston’s Jon Lester? That might make sense, given that the Red Sox have asked about Upton in the past, and he shouldn’t require one of those elite pitching prospects to be involved.

Oakland’s Jarrod Parker? It’d be awfully interesting, given that Parker was a Diamondback before being shipped off for Trevor Cahill. Parker doesn’t fit as a “premier” pitcher just yet, but he’s an extremely valuable property, and the A’s have been looking for a big bat after flirting with Hanley Ramirez.

Miami’s Josh Johnson? The word is that the Marlins aren’t moving him, and besides, he doesn’t rate that big of a return when he’s making close to his market value through free agency.

Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee? Lee only has big-time trade value if the Phillies swallow a whole bunch of the $25 million per year he’s due through 2015. Lee for Upton would make some sense on the surface, but that’d be a whole lot of money for Arizona to take on. I’d rather have Upton.

Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo? The Brewers bled a lot of talent trying to make their run in 2011, and they could use an infusion. I don’t think Upton would fit in here, but if the Diamondbacks are willing to give up two of their big three pitching prospects, the Brewers would have to take a long, hard look at such a deal. Gallardo and Hellickson are the two pitchers here (Felix, too, if he counts) that would be worth two from the group of Bauer, Skaggs and Bradley.

  1. brewcrewchamps - Jul 31, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    I don’t think the crew would be able to implode the starting rotation for a third outfielder.

    • sjcourtney56 - Jul 31, 2012 at 4:51 AM

      What starting rotation are you imploding if you lose Gallardo??? Face it Brewcrew, they are in full on rebuild mode now and wont compete for awhile. After PED Braun, Awful Weeks, and #2 starter at best Gallardo, what do they have? The Cubs are bad but at least they get it, they know theyre terrible and will sell just about anything.

      • uwsptke - Jul 31, 2012 at 9:27 AM

        Check the stats – the Brewers starting rotation is in the top half of the NL, it’s the relief pitching that has ruined the season (ERA is third worst in all of baseball). We’ll be getting a preview from here on out on what the rotation will look like in 2013 since Marcum is still out and Wolf has basically pitched at a replacement level and will be gone. Gallardo, Fiers and Estrada are probably locks. Then 2 of Thornburg, Rogers, Rivas, Peralta, or Narveson if he recovers from surgery.

        Yo is still only 26, and is signed through 2014 with a $15 mil option for 2015. I’m sure the D-Backs would be interested in him since he’s dominated them throughout his career. Trading him might make sense if you get a great package of MLB ready talent, but not for Upton. The OF is crowded next year with Braun, Aoki, Gomez, and Hart back in RF with Gamel coming back to play 1B. I like hanging onto Hart because of his ability to play terrific defense at 1B if Gamel goes down again.

      • ufullpj - Jul 31, 2012 at 9:34 AM

        “PED Braun” – the argument used when the facts don’t equate your suppositions.

  2. hittfamily - Jul 31, 2012 at 5:05 AM

    Shields for Upton. Get it done Friedman. Pena and Scott are gone next year. That’s 12 million alone. Toss in losing 8 million from Shields, and it is very affordable. The money they have saved to try to resign Price….get real dude. He’s going to be a Yankee in 3 years.

  3. buffalo65 - Jul 31, 2012 at 6:57 AM

    Jays picked up 2 arms last night and dealt 2 outfielders in the process. Loading up for a deal?

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