November 20, 2012
Why Justin Upton is Always About to Be Traded
At this point, it sort of seems as though Justin Upton has always been available, as if he was born on the trading block or at least debuted there before he made the majors. Upton trade rumors are as much an annual offseason ritual as Scott Boras’ binders, debates about Aroldis Chapman’s role, or worries about whether the Marlins are bad for baseball. He hasn’t actually been traded yet, not even once, but we’ve grown used to Upton existing in a perpetual state of about-to-be-dealt.
Difficult as it might be to believe, it’s been less than 2 ½ years since Upton was at the opposite end of the availability spectrum: untouchable. On March 3, 2010, the Diamondbacks signed Upton to a six-year, $51.25 million extension that runs through 2015. Just over three months later, on June 13, Nick Cafardo included this in the notes section of his column for the Boston Globe:
Give Cafardo credit: other than Hall, Upton is the only Diamondback from that note still standing. Everyone else mentioned has been fired, traded, or allowed to leave, including the GM and the manager. But while Upton still hasn’t been touched, he has been checked out, looked over, and leered at by every team in the league.
On July 16th, 2010, a rival GM confirmed Cafardo’s intel, saying, “All their guys except Upton and maybe [Ian] Kennedy are available.” But by November, less than four months later, Bob Nightengale was reporting that Upton was “available” and “under discussion.” Upton’s transition from untouchable to available happened so quickly that it made some teams suspicious.