MLB Trade Rumors: Why Would Arizona Diamondbacks Consider Trading Justin Upton?

Zak SchmollAnalyst IJuly 6, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 08:  Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up on deck during the interleague MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Chase Field on June 8, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the A's 9-8. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Diamondbacks are going to listen to offers for Justin Upton if they slip out of the NL West race, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.

When I first read this rumor, I was shocked.

Why on earth would the Diamondbacks trade their best player who is only 24 years old?

Sure, this season has not been the highlight of his career. He is hitting .266 with seven home runs, 34 RBI and 10 stolen bases. Those are not elite numbers so far this year, but he is an elite player when he's playing at his best.

Last season, he hit .289 with 31 home runs, 88 RBI and 21 stolen bases. There are not that many players who can post similar numbers.

Not only that, but he is only 24 years old. He has plenty of years to play, and a good number of those could be played in Arizona. In fact, if he progresses like a normal baseball player, his best years are still ahead of him.

Even with a little blip on the radar this season, the fact of the matter is that he showed last season that he is capable of being one of the better outfielders in baseball.

Because he has proven that he can produce at that level, there is sufficient reason to believe that he can do it again. He is not Michael Jordan, who had all the physical talent in the world but couldn't play baseball.

It is far too early for the Arizona Diamondbacks to even think about trading Justin Upton. He could be the cornerstone of the franchise for years to come, and even though 2012 has been frustrating, there is no reason to doubt that he will rebound and contribute in a major way.

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