justin uptonIn a would-be move that could have dramatically shifted the offseason landscape, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners agreed to a deal that would have sent 25-year-old outfielder Justin Upton to the Mariners, according to Ken Rosenthal.

But Upton, who has the right to block a trade to four teams (which he’s already designated), blocked the trade. Apparently the Mariners are one of the four teams on his list, and apparently he wasn’t keen on going there. There aren’t any details yet on just what Arizona would have received in return, nor are there details on the other three teams on Upton’s list.

Obviously the deal indicates what we’ve suspected all along: the Diamondbacks, for whatever reason, would like to trade Upton for a package of young talent right now. Rosenthal mentions that the Braves and the Rangers are also interested in Upton, and, given that there’s already been a trade agreed upon involving Upton, it seems likely that he’ll be dealt this offseason.

The implications for the Cubs here depend largely on whether they are interested in Upton (which I’ve previously discussed here), and whether they are interested in Michael Bourn (which I’ve previously discussed here, among other places). Obviously, if they are in on Upton, they’ll be continuing those discussions now that he isn’t going to the Mariners. If they’re in on Bourn, as the tea leaves suggest they are, at least at the periphery, the fact that the Mariners failed to acquire Upton could leave them with few options besides trying to sign Bourn.

The broader implications are tougher to nail down, because it depends on where Upton goes, what the D-backs get in return, and which teams/players are also talking to the team to which Upton goes. A big move like Upton is the kind that can have significant ripple effects, which could obviously touch a team like the Cubs – a team always interested in picking up assets, and with some pieces to trade.

I should add that this does not mean a D-backs/Mariners deal for Upton could never be consummated – Upton could simply be looking for a financial enticement to waive his no-trade clause, and this could simply be the first step in that process.

UPDATE: Jerry Crasnick has the other three teams on Upton’s list: the Blue Jays, the Red Sox and … the Cubs. That’s the second year in a row that the Cubs are on Upton’s no-trade list, which I take as a sign that his agent figured the Cubs would be very interested in trading for him (which makes sense, given their usual MO of targeting guys like Upton). Does this mean a trade with the Cubs could never happen? No. It just means that they’d have to offer up a financial enticement – likely an extension – in order to get him to waive his no-trade clause.

  • http://bleachernation frank hutch

    That’s true but I think shortstop is actually where our system is maybe the deepest in baseball. On the other hand we have absolutely to young pitching. I think we re the complete opposite of seatles system they have tons of pitchers and us position players

  • jt

    Upton’s 2012 season at age 24 was about equivalent to J.D. Drew’s 2010 season at age 34.
    That was about when folks started to think Drew should consider hangin’ them up.

    • Jack Weiland

      I mean …

      Are you somehow implying that a person’s age 24 and a person’s age 34 seasons are in any way congruous? That’s crazy.

  • RoughRiider

    I would expect a team that is trying to trade a player to try and prop up his image. Something like “We really Like Upton and we think he will be a great player for a long time” “he’s a great teammate and sombody we would hate to loose.” You don’t hear that in Arizona. And you don’t hear fans in Arizona objecting to trading him. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” I don’t think the Cubs should try to trade for him and I don’t think they will.

    • CubFan Paul

      Arizona is shredding salary that’s why, it’s a small market and they can’t hide that fact. Hopefully the Cubs are all over Upton.

      • Roughrider

        I’ve heard too many negative remarks about Upton to make me think the Cubs should include a top 5 prospect for him.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          Can you link to some?
          I keep hearing of these supposed negative comments, but don’t see anything too bad at all. Seems like hogwash to me.

          • Roughrider

            No links to Phoenix area sports talk radio.

        • CubFan Paul

          who said anything about a top 5 prospect in a cash dump trade?

          • Ben

            If Seattle was including Walker, the Cubs would have to include Baez to start. It’s not a straight cash dump trade.

            • CubFan Paul

              wrong. You don’t know if Arizona wasn’t adding money to get that kind of blue chip talent back.

              Secondly, its Seattle, they have to overpay because they have no choice when acquiring elite hitters via trade, everyone knows they can’t sign them thru free agency.

              Arizona isn’t going into the 2013 season with all of Upton’s salary on the books, they replaced him (Ross) and can’t afford him (Montero’s extension)

              • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

                lol, to get Upton, it will start with Baez.

    • Spriggs

      You don’t hear the fans in AZ complaining about Upton leaving, because they basically do not exist.

      All the speculation about him being a cancer, being lazy, being a bad apple — where does it come from? No legitimate sources that i have ever seen. I can say from seeing it first hand on many occasions that Upton is very fan friendly and signs autographs for kids (and big kids) all the time.

  • North Side Irish

    Upton is clearly talented, but his Home/Road splits are definitely worrisome (307/389/548 vs. 250/325/406). That definitely makes me pause before sending a top prospect and giving him an extension. the splits don’t mean everything, but I’d at least have to take a deep breath before pulling the trigger on Upton.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    I think we can put the Upton thing to bed. The teams don’t match up well enough. I don’t think the Cubs either have the prospects or could afford to set the system back by paying what Arizona wants. They want either ML ready high ceiling prospects or heavy tilted pitching, looks like LHP. I just don’t think the young talent is at the optimum value to trade. Further, no knock on Upton, but even if the system were more mature, I’m not sure Juston Upton is the right guy at the right time to splurge on. Its absolutely not a knock on the player, but this may not be a good fit for either party.

    • CubFan Paul

      Luke disagrees with you (“teams don’t match up well enough”). read his comments from lastnite on this. Interesting.

      • Kygavin

        I agree with Luke on this matter mainly because at this time last year Upton would have never been available for 1 top 3 prospect, and some other non-elite prospects/RP. Nothing has really changed from this time last year and even as “bad” as he was last year his BB% went up and his K% and BABIP stayed basically steady. Personally i think the wrist injury bothered him more than he let on and it zapped him of a lot of power

  • JR

    Obviously Upton has huge upside, but I don’t see the Cubs trading the amount of top prospects that it would take to get him. Everything Theo and Jed has said from the beginning indicate that the key is to have the farm system to grow your own talent and make a move when your close. The Cubs aren’t close, and just have a middle of the road farm system. If they traded their top prospects for Upton, their system would go back to where it was before they took over. Not happening..

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    I don’t agree with Luke and read it last night, even while I think he has a great mind. First, he’s looking with Cubbie Blue glasses and talking in the abstract. Second, look at what they wanted from Texas and turned down. Finally, I agree that what Luke proposed wouldn’t necessarily gut the Cubs system, but so many make the assumption Jackson can be compared to some of the names in some of these deals. Completely wrong, as well as the fact, when you look at where so many of these prospects are relative to any Cubs package, its not as close as most of you think. You’re comparing a couple of A level prospects, and a guy who failed at the ML level along with a pitcher recovering from an elbow. These deals compared to the Cubs are a long way apart.

    Also, I’ve seen reports Maples is throwing in the high 90’s so I would be willing to just piss him away. Sometimes you have to look at why teams aren’t paying the rate and why teams like Arizona want to move a guy. Especially when they bring in Cody Ross to essentially replace him. With all due respect to Luke, and I’m not a build to builder, I say again its too early to make a deal like this for this particular player. And I’ll take it a step further, I would bet Arizona would want both Castro and Shark for starters. Let’s get a clue, they turned down Olt, Holland and several prospects and instead were asking the best prospects from the Rangers. I think people vastly under rate the quality of the Seattle prospect.

    Like I say and I like and respect Luke, I just don’t agree he’s anywhere close on his package. And I don’t think there’s enough evidence that Upton would justify that kind of deal in Chicago.

    • DarthHater

      ” I just don’t agree he’s anywhere close on his package. And I don’t think there’s enough evidence that Upton would justify that kind of deal in Chicago.”

      Then, what you are saying is that the package proposed by Luke is not worth enough to get Upton and that Upton is not worth enough to justify the package proposed by Luke. Yea, that makes sense…

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  • T Larson

    Phoenix area resident here. No mention of Cubs. IMO Cubs would be better off without Upton. Many holes in his play. If he was that good the Diamond backs wouldn’t trade him. They need star players to attract fans. Fans are very fickle here. Alot of the time the opponent has just as many fans in attendence. The Cubs are one of those teams. That is when I attend Diamondback games.