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Justin Upton Near Trade: Reactions And Comments

Has there ever been some much talk about a trade in Diamondbacks history that didn't happen? Here's a selection of comments from around the Internet, regarding the deal which wasn't, including discussion of whether it was fair value, and suggestions of alternatives from other teams who might now be in play.

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Upton rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run against Seattle at Chase on June 12.
Upton rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run against Seattle at Chase on June 12.
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Trade details

"The deal would have sent three or four players back to Arizona, according to sources. Included among those players would have been relievers Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor, minor-league shortstop Nick Franklin and prized pitching prospect Taijuan Walker. Before settling on Walker, the Diamondbacks also discussed top Seattle pitching prospects James Paxton and lefty Danny Hultzen. The clubs also discussed the possibility of a second player accompanying Upton to Seattle in the deal. The identity of that player, believed to be a low level minor leaguer, is not known."
-- Scott Miller,

Would it be worth it?

As with any trade, there's a wide range of responses. Seattle fans seems generally amenable to the trade as suggested - a poll on Lookout Landing puts 46% of respondents "very" or "somewhat" pleased, compared to 35% displeased. Jeff Sullivan writes, "To me, that sure as shit isn't a bargain up there. Granted, the identity of the top pitching prospect makes a difference, since Walker isn't Hultzen isn't Paxton, but that's a hefty package of talent for a guy coming off a park-aided .785 OPS. Which isn't to say that I think the Mariners would've been getting slaughtered, but you have to understand that the Mariners would've been trading potential production for potential production."

However, opinion from inside baseball seems a lot more skewed towards the trade being a win for the D-backs:

"It really comes down to why Jack Zduriencik gets paid the big bucks: You have to properly evaluate your own talent. Is Walker a future ace? Is Franklin the heir apparent to Brendan Ryan at shortstop or a second baseman who won't have a job with Dustin Ackley around? Is Pryor a mediocre middle guy or a future closer? I don't think I'd do the deal with Walker, and I usually take a "prospects are overrated" position. The Mariners need to see how the new Safeco dimensions play out. It could be that their offense will be better than they realize and that a year from now they'll be looking for help in the rotation rather than a middle-of-the-order bat."
-- Dave Schoenfield, ESPN

"Yes, the deal would have been a gamble for the Mariners. Yes, it was probably an overpay. Yes, it had a chance to backfire, and to haunt the Mariners down the road.. But you know what? I see why Zduriencik did it, and, push come to shove, I would have as well. Because when overpaying is your only option, well, did I mention they really, really need a bat like Upton's."
-- Larry Stone, Seattle Times

Dave Cameron goes into some more detailed analysis at Fangraphs,which "does suggest that, at the minimum, Arizona was doing well in this deal, and this is probably the best they were going to get for Upton. Other teams are less likely to put up a similar offer, especially if the most aggressive bidder is out of the running due to Upton’s no-trade list." However, he add that it "isn’t anywhere close to the same kind of overpay as other deals we’ve seen in the last few years. It was a good deal for Arizona, but Upton’s worth something close to that kind of package."

Seattle: Official

"It's been our policy all along to not comment on trade rumors... We're always looking to improve our club, whether offensively or on the mound," Zduriencik said. "We've had a lot of discussions and dialogue and we'll continue to do that. We'll go into Spring Training still looking to make improvements if we have to. We haven't put the brakes on anything."
-- Seattle GM, Jack Zduriencik

Upton's veto

"MLB Network's Harold Reynolds said Friday that Justin Upton told the Diamondbacks repeatedly that he would not approve a trade to the Mariners. Reynolds is a bit of an insider on the matter, as he is the younger brother of Upton's agent, Larry Reynolds. The news makes the likelihood of Upton changing his mind and agreeing to the trade unlikely, though nothing can be ruled out if his relationship with the D'Backs is frayed enough. The Rangers have reportedly moved on from Upton, making the Braves the most likely landing spot at this point."
-- Rotoworld and Ken Rosenthal

From Texas

"Word out of the Rangers camp was that they were unlikely re-engage in talks. They were moving on after nearly three months of on-again, off-again conversations. Completely plausible. Before Arizona accepted an offer from Seattle, fully knowing that Upton had the Mariners on his very limited no-trade list, the Rangers made another offer believed to be four players. Arizona wanted a couple of substitutions in a deal that would have been built around Mike Olt and a pitcher, but the Rangers wouldn’t go there"
-- Evan Grant, Dallas News

From Atlanta

"[The Braves] have not necessarily been considered a favorite to land Upton. But the scene was altered on Thursday night, when Upton rejected a trade to the Mariners and the Rangers reportedly decided they will no longer attempt to land the D-backs outfielder... If the Braves were to present a comparable package, it would include Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado, Eric O'Flaherty or Jonny Venters, shortstop Nick Ahmed and likely either J.R. Graham or Zeke Spruill. While the Braves would be interested in acquiring Upton, there is little reason to believe they would do so if the cost proves to be as significant as it would have been for the Mariners."
-- Mark Bowman,

"It would presumably take a package of J.R. Graham, Jordan Walden, Luis Avilan, and Nick Ahmed to get Justin Upton. Something tells me the D-Backs might want more than Avilan from our system, so we might have to substitute another pitching prospect (maybe even someone like Sean Gilmartin) in order to get a deal done. That's a lot of prospects, but if that was what it took to get Upton, I think it's a price the Braves can afford to pay. And one they should pay to get a player like Upton."
-- gondee, Talking Chop

From Oakland

"A deal surrounding Choice, AJ Cole, Sonny Gray, and Max Stassi should get the Diamondbacks to bite. The A’s could then trade Coco Crisp for virtually whatever they can get, move Josh Reddick to left, Yoenis Cespedes to center, and leave Upton in right. Wallah! perfect trade. The Diamondbacks would get a young outfielder that could turn into Justin Upton in a few years in Choice, 2 young upcoming arms in AJ Cole and Sonny Gray, and top catching prospect Max Stassi."
-- Gil Gerard, Rant Sports

Hypothetical Trades

R.J. White has a very good piece on based on John Sickels' rankings of the prospects involved in the Mariners offer - Walker (A-), Franklin (B+), Pryor (C+) - he has come up with five hypothetical deals of the same "value", from other teams.

  • Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon, SS Alen Henson, RHP Kyle McPherson and RHP Mark Melancon.
  • Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman, 2B/SS Jonathan Schoop, RHP Steve Johnson and RHP Pedro Strop.
  • Tigers: 3B Nick Castellanos, RHP Bruce Rondon, LHP Casey Crosby and RHP Rick Porcello.
  • Braves: RHP Julio Teheran, RHP J.R. Graham, SS Nick Ahmed and RHP Jordan Walden.
  • Phillies: LHP Jesse Biddle, 3B Cody Asche, RHP Ethan Martin and RHP Phillipe Aumont.

Local feeling

"Whether this trade was carved in stone or not, the damage has been done. I believe Justin Upton wants to stay in the desert but after all he has done for this organization, I think he deserves a little more respect. Also, are we forgetting that Justin is only 25 years old? Upton has a lot of years left and those years need to be spent in Phoenix. This is coming from a big J-UP supporter but I know others in the baseball world agree with me. Essentially what the front office has done with this proposed deal is treat Justin like an old T.V we put on our driveway with a “FREE, PLEASE TAKE” sign taped to it."
-- Christian Moffett, Venom Strikes

After three years on the trading block, Upton’s relationship with the manager, the fans and the team hierarchy is irreparably broken. The acrimony is obvious, especially if both parties actually agreed to remove the “Uptown” sign in right field, which will rank as the second most premature gesture in Valley history. The first belongs to the Suns, who imported “Trophy Guy” to US Airways Center before reaching the NBA Finals... Upton and the Diamondbacks need to end their relationship. Each considers the other a major disappointment, and each needs liberation from the past.
-- Dan Bickley, AZ Central