The really ballsy thing for Towers to do would have been to trade Upton after 2011.
Oh I would have screamed bloody murder, but if he were going to have a chance to get some team to wildy overpay for Upton, that was the window.
But he didn't have the balls. Can't fault him, as Upton had a near MVP caliber season and the team made the playoffs. So that would have been a hard sell. But if his evaluation of Upton was correct, it would have been correct then, not just now after Upton comes off an injury marred season.
I have read several times people comparing this situation to the Peavy situation that he dragged out for over year, shopping him like crazy and having to deal with all the rumors.
At the end of the day, he didn't get much for Peavy.
In 4 years SD got 584 somewhat below league avg innings from Clayton Richard, (ttl. 1.6 WAR, 94 ERA+) and nothing else.
Adam Russel 28 IP, -0.1 WAR
Aaron Poreda 2 IP
And Dexter Carter, who never made it to the show and is pitching in the independent league.
At this point, as Upton's trade value is now lower, due both because he had a "down" year in 2012 and because he is into the more expensive parts of his contract and the years of control are one fewer, the window for Towers to get a suitable return for Upton has probably closed.
If he truly feels he will not trade him unless overwhelmed, then great. I hope what he is saying is true. But this could also just be GM speak. Who knows ? At this stage it's obviously proven to be really really hard to get proper return for Upton. Unless Upton was a malcontent, locker room problem, which he is not, you can't trade him for supposed "equal" value. You might fill one hole if you don't screw up like he did with the Peavy trade, but you open up another hole and don't really improve the team. If the D Backs had another outfielder coming up from the minors that had a similar upside to Upton, it would be different. But they don't.
So here we are.
Sit tight and know that even if Upton only gives you 9 WAR over the next 3 seasons, he has still at least earned his contract. If he gives you more, then you are well in the black and have an all star caliber player for 3 more years. This is how winning teams are built.