Justin Upton Trade Would Require High Price, Says Diamondbacks GM
General manager Kevin Towers returned home from the general managers' meetings Thursday night and made some frank comments on the subject to the Arizona Republic. The overall gist was that an Upton trade is definitely a possibility, but it will take quite a haul to pry him away from Arizona.
"I told most of the ballclubs that this is one that's probably going to be a 'win' deal for us," Towers told Nick Piecoro. "Most of the deals, it's win-win for both sides. The asking price is definitely going to be steep. If someone wants to meet that, we'll have to strongly consider it. If not, we'll keep Justin and move on."
The Diamondbacks are expected to ask for four or five players in return for Upton, preferably young major leaguers or top minor league players on the verge of making the jump. Pitchers of all kinds and a left fielder are on their wish list.
Towers said 15 or 20 teams expressed interest in trading for the 23-year-old outfielder, who signed a six-year contract with the Diamondbacks during spring training.
That deal came under the auspices of Towers' predecessor, Josh Byrnes, and Upton will see a huge bump in salary next season as a result. After making $500,000 this season (plus the final $2 million installment of his original $6.1 million signing bonus from 2005), Upton's base salary for 2011 is $4.25 million. His contract runs through the 2015 season.
It goes without saying that most teams don't have the willingness to part with the kind of players Towers is seeking. The New York Post reports five teams of those that contacted the Diamondbacks about Upton planned to move forward with talks. The Yankees are not among them. The Blue Jays, Red Sox, Marlins and Rays have been mentioned as potential suitors.
"I think it'll take a club that's willing to overpay and believes that one particular player is going to make them a world champion or a serious contender," Towers told the Republic. "It will have to be a club that has some depth and wants him badly."