Speculation continues to follow Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton.
Whispers regarding his future continue to swirl weeks after the Major League Baseball winter meetings where J-Up’s name was bantered around in trade speculation like a beach volleyball. Reports linked to a deal with Texas, Seattle, Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Diego, Baltimore and others never materialized but Upton’s name continues to surface with the Dbacks set to report for spring training in about a month.
The Upton hot stove discussion got turned up again after General Manager Kevin Towers signed free-agent Cody Ross (three years, $26 million) to an already crowded outfield which includes Gerardo Parra, Jason Kubel, and Adam Eaton. Towers has remained steadfast insisting he will “listen to all offers” for Upton, but the clock seems to be ticking on the 25-year old’s time in Arizona.
“He’ll definitely be traded,” USA Today MLB insider Bob Nightengale told Pros2Preps.com Wednesday. “It’s becoming a fiasco. The Diamondbacks have made it clear they want him out…I’d be stunned if he showed up at spring training.”
Upton hit .280 with 17 homers and 67 runs batted in last season. It was considered a down year by many people in baseball considering the 31 homer, 88 RBI season he generated in 2011.
Nightengale said he believes Towers and the organization will push to get a deal done before the club reports to their Salt River Fields facility in February simply because they won’t want the distraction lingering around a club looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2012 campaign.
He warned the Dbacks better be careful what they wish for in attempting to deal Upton.
“I think they think he’s underachieved and he is streaky, but he is 25 years old,” Nightengale explained to Pros2Preps.com. “He’s got a chance to be a superstar. It’s a situation where you have to move him at some point. I think when they got Cody Ross it was their way of saying [they] had a replacement, but Cody Ross isn’t close to being the talent Upton is.”