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Diamondbacks “are trying to trade” Justin Upton … again

Nov 7, 2012, 3:45 PM EDT

Justin Upton Getty Getty Images

Shortly after taking over as Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers made headlines for saying he’d be open to trading Justin Upton for the right package.

Two years later Upton remains in Arizona, but Ken Rosenthal of reports that the Diamondbacks “are trying to trade” him following a disappointing season in which Upton saw his OPS drop 113 points compared to 2011.

Just last month owner Ken Kendrick said that the Diamondbacks were “highly unlikely” to trade Upton, but according to Rosenthal “the team is again engaged in active discussions.”

Rosenthal speculates that the Rangers could be a potential fit, mentioning shortstop Elvis Andrus by name. Last season Upton had the ability to block trades to the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Indians, but a source told Rosenthal that the list has since changed.

Upton is set to earn $9.75 million in 2013, $14.25 million in 2014, and $14.5 million in 2015. He’s still just 25 years old and one season removed from finishing fourth in the MVP balloting, but the Diamondbacks are pretty deep in outfielders thanks in part to the emergence of top prospect Adam Eaton and clearly have doubts about the former No. 1 overall pick’s ability to develop into a superstar.

Or maybe Towers just likes keeping Upton on his toes constantly.

  1. Kevin S. - Nov 7, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Kitchen sink, Towers. Any favorite prospects you had while you were a special advisor in the Boogie Down are yours.

    • Kevin S. - Nov 7, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      That said, if Texas decided to start off with Andrus and Olt, it’s going to be hard for other teams to match offers.

      • Alex K - Nov 7, 2012 at 4:31 PM

        Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Yankees to go after Andrus? I don’t know if they have what the Rangers would want, but it seems like he would be a better target. It’s not like Jeter’s defense is going to get better after breaking his ankle.

      • Jeremy T - Nov 7, 2012 at 4:45 PM

        Andrus would be a great fit on the Yankees, and the Rangers can certainly afford to trade him, with Profar almost in the majors. However, I’m not convinced that New York has the pieces to get someone as good as Andrus.

      • sprest83 - Nov 7, 2012 at 5:06 PM

        Andrus isn’t getting traded for anything less than a stud pitcher and I disagree with this totally, unless the package is good. I would like to see Andrus and Profar for years to come in Texas.

  2. whatthehellisansky - Nov 7, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    I havent had the chance to see this guy play – but considering that hes a 5 tool player who’s relatively affordable – i’d imagine he plays the game with the same attitude his brother does. In my opinion, that isnt the attitude you want to bring into a clubhouse.

    Why do they constantly want to trade this guy?

    • indaburg - Nov 7, 2012 at 5:06 PM

      What attitude are you talking about? First of all, most of us have competely different personalities than our siblings so to imagine they approach the game similarly is a stretch. Secondly, assuming you mean BJ’s attitude is not one you would want in your clubhouse, BJ may appear to be somewhat lackadaisical at times, but no mistake about it, he plays the game hard and he cares. There has never been anything but praise for Upton as a clubhouse guy.

  3. aarondommin - Nov 7, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    In trading Justin Upton now the Diamondbacks would be selling low on a player that one year ago showed the potential to be an MVP player. If Texas is offering Olt and Andrus that would be a fair package but an offer of Andrus and fodder should NOT get the deal done. At 9.75 million, its worth the gamble of keeping Upton and playing the odds he has a good year and selling high on him next offseason. Why the urgency??

    • indyralph - Nov 7, 2012 at 4:22 PM

      I agree with you on “why sell low?” point. But Upton for Andrus is not selling low. Last two years Fangraphs WAR: Upton = 8.9, Andrus = 8.6. Last two years B-Ref WAR, Upton = 6.3, Andrus = 9.3. The big difference is that the value of Upton’s defense is up for debate, but they are roughly equal players. But Andrus is younger and cheaper at a tougher position to fill. If there’s a deal revolving around Upton for Andrus, Texas is the team asking for more.

      • paperlions - Nov 7, 2012 at 7:33 PM

        Yep, good defensive SS that are young and can hit are a rare commodity….inconsistent corner OF with MVP potential that rarely manifests are great, but still not as common or valuable as an Andrus.

  4. thebadguyswon - Nov 7, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    The only way to get him is to overpay and I would not overpay for either Upton. Maybe Kate.

  5. illadelphiasphinest - Nov 7, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Hey Ruben Amaro Jr. Pick up the phone and get a deal done!!! I’m pretty sure we could use a 25yo corner outfielder with MVP potential, who’s just entering the prime of his career. Give um Cliff Lee, use the $15.7MM saved to sign BJ Upton, and Dan Haren. Boom! Your OF consists of Brown/Ruf in Left, BJ Upton in center, and Justin Upton in right, while mataining a solid starting rotation of Halladay, Hamels, Haren, Worley, n ???? for the 5th spot.

    • paperlions - Nov 7, 2012 at 7:35 PM

      If there was an Upton/Lee deal….the Phillies wouldn’t be saving any money….because the only way that happens is if the Phillies pay most of Lee’s remaining salary.

  6. jonrox - Nov 7, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    I would love to have him on either of my teams (Tigers or Reds).

    • greymares - Nov 7, 2012 at 7:56 PM

      the league doesn’t allow a fan to have 2 teams. your in violation my friend

  7. denny65 - Nov 7, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    What? Upton had a “disappointing” 2012 season?

    I’m willing to bet Mariners’ GM JackZ is on the phone as we speak, trying to negotiate an Upton/Figgins swap. Yep, straight up.

  8. djjackson81 - Nov 9, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    It is funny to me being a native of Phoenix and a from the beginning fan of the Dbacks. Listening to all these wish we could get Upton on our team for ………. Upton is five tool player and most teams will be calling on him but Towers is not stupid he won’t give him away and would only do so for there most needs. Or else they will simply keep him in there own outfield. Andrus for Upton pretty much a was numbers wise Andrus is cheaper so the salaries would have to get closer to trade. Profar is gonna take over SS wether it be this year or next when Andrus becomes free agent. They want Upton the will have to give up Andrus period or keep wish listing.

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