Arizona Diamondbacks' Curious Offseason Continues with Justin Upton Non-Trade

Jonathan CullenSenior Writer IJanuary 16, 2013

It seems likely that Upton will be with another team come spring.
It seems likely that Upton will be with another team come spring.Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The Arizona Diamondbacks attempted to trade Justin Upton to the Seattle Mariners last week.

Upton invoked his no-trade clause and blocked the trade, according to this report by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi.

It's not that the proposed trade with Seattle, with the Diamondbacks receiving top Seattle pitching prospect Taijuan Walker according to CBS Sports' Scott Miller, was a bad move.

It just wouldn't really have helped the 2013 Diamondbacks.

The fact that the Diamondbacks spent this much time working on a trade with one of the four teams listed on Upton's no-trade list, mentioned in this tweet from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, seems like a bad move.

A move that was made even more curious with this tweet from Rosenthal, saying that Upton repeatedly told the D'Backs that he wouldn't agree to the trade.

This continues Arizona's odd offseason, where they seem to have one foot firmly in 2013 and one foot in the future.

Earlier this offseason, the Diamondbacks were involved in a three-way trade with the Cleveland Indians. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal broke the news of the three-team trade, one that finally gave the Diamondbacks a shortstop for the future.

In the trade, the Reds received Shin Soo-Choo and Jason Donald, the Indians received pitching headlined by D'Backs prospect Trevor Bauer and the Diamondbacks received a shortstop they have coveted in Didi Gregorius.

The immediate reaction to the trade? Gregorius had better be good, because it certainly seems like the D'Backs gave up a lot for a shortstop who might not hit at the major league level.

The trade for Gregorius initially seemed to signal that Arizona planned to hold on to Upton.

That was until the team signed outfielder Cody Ross towards the end of December, first reported by New York Daily News' Mark Feinsand.

By signing Ross before making a trade for Upton, the D'Backs made it unlikely they would get market value for Upton.

Ross is a good player and should give the D'Backs similar production at roughly 70 percent of the cost of Upton over the next three seasons.

D'Backs general manager Kevin Towers has made some shrewd moves this winter, signing low-cost starter Brandon McCarthy and veteran third baseman Eric Chavez and acquiring Heath Bell.

Ultimately, Towers will be judged on how good of a player Gregorius ends up being at the major league level and what the D'Backs eventually receive for Upton.

But if you're going to potentially trade your best player and your top prospect, you have to receive players that can impact your 2013 club.

For a team poised to compete for the NL West division title next season, it seems like they could have done better.


Statistics and information from Baseball Reference and MLB Trade Rumors