January 4, 2013
Friday, January 4
Remember when Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers told FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that a trade involving Justin Upton was “highly unlikely”? Remember, also, when, in the wake of the Reds’ elimination from the postseason, Scott Rolen was thought to be “preparing for retirement”?
If Thursday’s developments are accurate, you can toss all of that out the window. Here’s the latest from Arizona and Cincinnati…
Upton, not Jason Kubel, now expected to be shipped out of the desert
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman heard from a source after Christmas that ‘someone will go,” but the asking price for Upton at that point remained exorbitant. The feeling in the immediate aftermath of the Ross signing was that Kubel was “most likely to go,” even though, as Rosenthal heard from an executive, “They wouldn’t get a lot for him.” Now, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the tables have turned.
Multiple sources told Olney on Thursday that they were “convinced” that Towers would ultimately end the saga by exporting Upton and keeping Kubel, preferring the return for the former despite the inferior production of the latter. Since the beginning of the offseason, there have been intermittent reports suggesting that Upton was available, but virtually all of them stopped short of making the 25-year-old the favorite in the trade derby. Not anymore.
Whether Towers changed his mind because of poor proposals for Kubel—who has $8.5 million in guarantees remaining on his contract and was only a smidge better than replacement level in 2012—or because of a blockbuster offer for Upton, is unclear. Rosenthal and his FOX Sports colleague Jon Morosi co-wrote an update saying that the Diamondbacks “continue to send mixed signals” about their intentions, but affirmed the stewing Upton thinking with a list of possible destinations. They noted that Upton “is perhaps the Mariners’ most realistic pursuit,” even though the no-trade clause in his extension would enable him to block a trade to Seattle.