The trade talks probably went no further than D'Backs GM Kevin Towers asking Colorado’s front office for half a lineup's worth of minor league All-Stars, followed by the click of the phone being hung up.
Rockies fans were disappointed when they heard the asking price, and quickly dismissed the idea of Upton playing right field for Colorado next season.
Even if the asking price was fair, it would be foolish to go after Upton. Gonzalez, Fowler and Smith/Spilborghs make quite the outfield already, and the Rockies have much bigger holes to fill.
Seth Smith is a young player with power and matched Upton for home runs last season. Ryan Spilborghs is a versatile outfielder who has shown he can hold his own as a starter. He had a better average than Upton last year over 134 games (Upton played in 133).
The Rockies could use a starting pitcher, catcher or middle reliever much more than a fifth outfielder. Chris Iannetta will be questionable at catcher to say the least, while the rotation may have to rely on two unproven starters if Dan O’Dowd cannot bring in a replacement for Jorge De La Rosa.
Speaking of Iannetta, he and Upton share one major problem: attitude.
When Iannetta was sent down to AAA this past season, he was angry at the team for making him fix his swing. Upton came up in 2007 as one of the most advanced 19-year-olds to ever play the game. He was understandably disappointing in his first two big-league months, and only hit .250 with 16 home runs the next year in 108 games.
Justin always had the talent, but never could turn it into superstar success on the field. In 2008, Scout.com writer Tyler Hissey said, “B.J.’s little brother, Justin, has more talent, but does not have the same advanced approach.”
Justin has been content to try when he feels like it on the last-place Diamondbacks the past two years. After he was drafted first overall in 2005, Upton shot up the minor league system and landed in the bigs two years later.
He fulfilled his lifelong dream of being a major league player that he shared with his brother B.J., but apparently did not intend to pile on the accomplishments. Justin said he uses his sibling rivalry with B.J. as motivation during his workouts, but that does not provide much motivation these days.
Upton has been known to be an underachiever throughout his career, and if he comes to play with the likes of Eric Young, Jr., Ian Stewart and Carlos Gonzalez, the team may become a little too lax.
Even without Upton, the Rockies already have enough stubborn, underachieving young players who need a good, old-fashioned bat-beating from Tulo to fix their attitude problems. The Rockies would be much better off trading for James Shields or Jesse Crain.