MLB Trade Rumors: Seattle Mariners Back in Hunt for Justin Upton

J.J. MatthewsContributor IIIJanuary 3, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the San Diego Padres during the MLB game at Chase Field on September 18, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Earlier this week, I made my case for why Justin Upton would be just what the Mariners need to contend moving forward in an improving AL West.

With the rumors swirling involving Andre Ethier (ESPN Insider Required), Giancarlo Stanton and just about every other hitter under the sun, Upton may have conceivably slipped under Mariners fans' radars as of recently; that is, until today.

Buster Olney tweeted earlier today that the Diamondbacks are in fact again very open to trading Upton:

 

Arizona very much open again to talking about trading Justin Upton w/other teams, and not surprisingly, their specific demands have changed.

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 3, 2013

 

 

The big part about what Olney says here is that the Diamondbacks' demands have changed. Earlier in the offseason, GM Kevin Towers' main goal was to acquire their shortstop of the future whom they got in Didi Gregorious after their three-way trade with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians.

 

The bigger news for Mariners fans came after Olney's next tweet:

 

The Diamondbacks have viewed Seattle as a possible landing spot for Upton, but remember, he would have to approve any deal to Mariners.

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 3, 2013

 

The key for Seattle now is that Arizona no longer appears to be looking for a shortstop. With the depth the Diamondbacks have in the outfield, it is conceivable that they could be looking to deal Upton for a young pitching prospect or two to replace Trevor Bauer, whom they sent to Cleveland in order to acquire Didi Gregorious.

This makes Seattle a perfect trading partner, as the Mariners boast one of the deepest collections of pitching prospects in baseball.

The other big sticking point in this tweet is Olney pointing out that Upton had recently added the Mariners to his no-trade list ,meaning Upton would have to approve any deal to Seattle.

This may not be as big of a deal as many would think. As pointed out by the writers over at U.S.S. Mariner, Upton may simply have put Seattle on his no-trade list in order to negotiate a bigger extension.

This would not be surprising, as Upton is currently in the middle of a six-year, $51.26 million deal which makes Upton a huge bargain in comparison to other players of his caliber.

Now none of this means the Mariners are inevitably going to wind up with Justin Upton; but with recent developments, one has to believe the Mariners are now more likely to acquire the slugger out of Arizona than they were a few weeks back.