Mariners Insider

Report: Justin Upton exercised no-trade clause to nix deal to the Mariners

Post by Ryan Divish on Jan. 10, 2013 at 5:13 pm with 13 Comments »
January 10, 2013 7:13 pm
Justin Upton
Sometimes he’s just not that into you … (AP Photo)

The Mariners have been actively pursuing Justin Upton since, well, forever. Ok, maybe not that long. But the Mariners have been interested in Upton since the middle of last season. They’ve been engaged with the Arizona Diamondbacks most of the offseason, trying to acquire the one-time all-star outfielder.

And apparently, they had acquired him … almost. According to, the D’backs and Mariners agreed to a trade in principle to send Upton to Seattle for several prospects. However, since Upton has the Mariners listed as one of four teams on his limited no-trade clause in his contract, he supposedly vetoed the trade.

“I don’t have any comment on any trade rumors. That’s been our policy all along,” said GM Jack Zduriencik via cell phone.

According to Scott Miller of CBS … here’s what the Mariners were willing to give up  …

The deal would have sent three or four players back to Arizona, according to sources. Included among those players would have been relievers Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor, minor league shortstop Nick Franklin and, likely, one of three minor-league starting pitching prospects: Right-hander Taijuan Walker, lefty James Paxton or lefty Danny Hultzen

Hmm, that’s about what I expected.

The other three teams on his no-trade clause list? The Cubs, Blue Jays and Red Sox.

Why would Upton do such a thing, when it’s clear that the Diamondbacks no longer want his service?

Is it the coffee?

Is it the rain?

Is it that he’s never had really good salmon?

No, realistically,  it’s leverage. Sure, you can throw into the fact the Mariners have not been a good team the past few years and there are questions whether they will be a good team the next few years. Sure, you can talk about Safeco Field still being thought of as a hitter’s wasteland – which it may or may or not be. But really, it comes down to Upton and his agent determining the teams that would most likely trade for him, putting them on that no-trade clause list which he can change from year to year, and then using those suitors to figure out the best deal or optimal situation for him.

Dave Cameron of USS Mariner does a good job of outlining it. Dave also lists the ways the Mariners could sweeten the deal to get Upton to agree to waive the clause  - namely, granting him free agency a year early in 2014 instead of 2015.  Of course, one of the draws of Upton is having him under club control till 2015. This isn’t a complete money grab. Remember, Upton makes $9.75 million this season,  $14.2 million on 2014 and $14.5 million. And more money for more years won’t entice him. He isn’t likely to sign an extension with any team, having already done so with the D’Backs.

If you notice not on his no-trade list are the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers. Both are interested in signing him. Why would Atlanta entice Upton? Because Bossman Junior (BJ) Upton recently signed to play there.

Really though if the Diamondbacks really want to make this deal, they have the option of telling Upton. Fine, you won’t agree to be traded, then we won’t play you more than as a role or bench player.  Will that happen? Don’t underestimate manager Kirk Gibson’s issues with Upton. The two clashed last season and Upton remained in his doghouse ever since.  Right now, the D’backs have signed Cody Ross to go with Jason Kubel in right field and Adam Eaton. So they could bench Upton. But then you have to run the risk of him losing all value completely.


Leave a comment Comments → 13
  1. Who would lead off for the M’s?

    I assume Ackley would hit second. He should be okay (not the phenom some expected, but won’t suck either… like most M hitters for a long time, minus Ichiro).

    Upton/Morales/Montero would actually look pretty good on paper at 3-4-5.

    I even picked up Seager (not Bob) last year on my fantasy team and he wasn’t too bad.

    The offense would finally not suck… and you might actually go into happy locker rooms after more games than not.

    Do you think this trade will eventually go down in the next few weeks?

  2. Seahawks2620 says:

    Justin Upton would be such a phenomenal building block for this team and this lineup, but if it isn’t meant to be than so be. When I first read the report, I was disgusted and livid. I thought to myself “Ah! So close! What a greedy fill in the blank!”. However, even though I would love to have him, with or without I am genuinely excited for the potential of some of these younger guys who have had less than stellar starts to their respective careers. The Smoaks and Ackleys of the world. Before you harp on me as bring one of those bimbo fans that buys into the “garbage” that this organization continues to feed us, check my twitter page. I have grown just as tiresome as any of you who are tired of hearing about “patience” and “But but but we have a great farm system!”. I too am tired of it, and just want to see a winning product at the major league level. If Upton is a Mariner this year that wonderful, but he’s not really a player that I will lie down and die for if we don’t end up acquiring him. M’s For Life.

  3. bbnate420 says:

    BobbyK, thanks for the info on Upton’s wrist. I didn’t follow him that closely and didn’t know about that. Makes sense. Young players like that can just have an off tear too. Really anyone can in baseball. It’s a tough sport to maintain excellence in. Ackley had a bum ankle last year. It effected his running for sure, and it probably effected his hitting as well. I am really interested to see what he does this year. He may never be a franchise player, but I think it’s far too early to write the book on him. He would be better off hitting #2 IMO, but the M’s don’t have a better lead-off candidate right now.

    I would offer Upton FA after 2014 if that’s what it takes. Especially if the member of the big 4 to go is Paxton or Maurer. If he wants FA after 2013 or they require Walker or better, then I’m probably out and very hesitant at least. Keeping Upton here for at least 2 years is mandatory IMO, unless the D’Backs SEVERELY reduce the asking price.

  4. bbnate420 says:

    The only hitter I would offer anything but Felix for is Giancarlo. Not that it’s going to happen.

    If nothing trade wise happens, we M’s fans have to count on Montero developing, i.e. learning to not run like a wounded duck etc., and players like Ackley, Seager, and Saunders taking the next step. Zunino hopefully would develop fast as well and be up here sometime in 2014 at least.

    BobbyK, Seager really was a good player for the M’s last year. The best hitter they had IMO. He’s not an all-star, without developing rather significantly, but he’s definitely a very good player to have it seems.

  5. SandlotSam says:

    We’ve already seen what happens when a player comes here and doesn’t really want to be here. I’ve seen enough of that lately. So I think Upton did both himself and the M’s a favor by nixing the deal. Besides, that trade was “all you can eat” for the Diamondbacks. And they were damn hungry.

  6. Palerydr says:

    While I like the guy as a BB player from the limited information I have about his personality I can’t stand him. If he doesn’t want to play here then CYA! I applaud Z for having the nuts to trade one of his grade A pitching prospect chips for a hitter. I also would like to see the scenario where Upton gets benched for the year wouldn’t that be something, course it won’t happen.

  7. Just remember this if people start complaining about Z not doing enough to add hitters. The player has to want to come here too.

    I think Justin Upton is phenomenally talented, but much like his brother, will never achieve his full potential consistently. He will have flashes that last long enough to keep teams intrigued and paying him well, but he will never be great. Greatness requires a love and passion for the game, work ethic, and unparallelled focus. Or steroids.

  8. hahahah I love it! Way to Go M’s you are really making a name for yourself you effin losers. Leverage u say? thats a a joke. EVERYONE knows this franchise is a perennial loser and thats why they don’t wanna play here even with the hydro races on the big screen.

  9. tcronk: What is your favorite MLB team?

  10. TC, the Mariners made the offer to the D’backs. Upton declined for whatever reasons he has. This isn’t on the Mariners as much as you want to make it to be. If it was about going to winning teams, Upton wouldn’t have had the REd Sox and Yankees on his no-trade clause list last year and the year before.

  11. bbnate420 says:

    Don’t feed the trolls.

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