MLB Trade Rumors: Why Justin Upton Won't Get Traded This Year

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 02:  Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the Colorado Rockies during the MLB game at Chase Field on October 2, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies 5-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

When Josh Hamilton signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Zack Greinke joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, the MLB rumor mill turned to Justin Upton, where it remains in full force even now.

But don't expect to see Upton actually get traded, folks—it probably won't happen.

A few days ago, Upton utilized his no-trade clause to block a potential deal to the Seattle Mariners. Normally, a no-trade clause operates as a major impediment to any deal getting done, as the player holds final say, but Upton's no-trade clause only allows him to reject deals to Seattle, the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.

Still, it was believed that the Diamondbacks were sent a very nice package by Seattle, and the team might be less inclined to move him unless another deal reaches those standards.

And as Buster Olney of ESPN Insider reports, that might be unlikely to happen. You see, teams may not be so willing to overpay for Upton if the possibility that Giancarlo Stanton might become available is out there:

The Rangers and other teams will consider this question: If they trade some of their better prospects for Upton now, would that undercut their chances of getting [David] Price and Stanton later?

One evaluator believes that this is a factor in the current Upton sweepstakes.

"The Marlins will move Stanton at some point, whether it's before, during or after the 2013 season, and he's universally considered to be a better player because of his upside as a potential 50-home run monster," the evaluator said. "Upton is a really good player, but there are questions as to whether he can be a superstar; there are no such questions with Stanton—and he's less expensive and under club control for four years as opposed to the three years of Upton. Remember, the Rangers are a pretty good team even without Upton, and he comes with a lot of questions, and that isn't the case with Stanton."

And make no mistake about it—the Diamondbacks aren't going to give up Upton on the cheap. It was believed the New York Mets were interested, but as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports, the Diamondbacks' interest in pitcher Zack Wheeler nixed those talks:

#mets wont give up wheeler. sides dont see a fit for justin upton trade at this point.

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 15, 2013


Matthew Leach of wrote a really good article pondering why the Diamondbacks would want to get rid of a young, talented player like Upton, and I generally agree that it seems odd the team would either be willing to move him or wouldn't definitively come out and say they won't trade him.

Perhaps the Diamondbacks think Upton is overrated and will never have more value than now. If that is the case, though, other teams are going to pick up those vibes and will be less likely to sell the farm to bring him aboard.

Honestly, the willingness alone to move a player many assumed would be Arizona's franchise player has to raise red flags.

For all of the reasons above, I don't see the Diamondbacks moving Upton. I don't see them getting the value they want for him when Stanton might become available. And I certainly don't see teams falling for the Diamondbacks valuing Upton as less than a franchise player but still expecting to get a lucrative package in return for trading him.

Things aren't adding up for Upton to be moved, at least not yet. Perhaps a team desperate to add an impact bat—the Philadelphia Phillies, anyone?—will come through and make a big splash.

But I'm not holding my breath.


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