Justin Upton Uses No-Trade Clause to Reject Deal with Mariners

Ethan GrantAnalyst IJanuary 10, 2013

Justin Upton and the Arizona Diamondbacks appear set on parting ways, but the 25-year-old slugger won't be playing his home games at Safeco Field next season.

According to Fox Sports baseball insiders Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, the Seattle Mariners and Diamondbacks had a deal in place that would have sent Upton to Seattle, but the slugger rejected it through his limited no-trade clause.

Here's an excerpt from the report:

The Mariners are one of four clubs on Upton’s no-trade list, according to sources. At least two other teams, the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves, also are pursuing him.

As ESPN's Jerry Crasnick points out on Twitter, the teams on Upton's no-trade list are so specific that a deal to Seattle was never going to suit him, even with an extension or the possibility to play savior to the franchise:

#Mariners, #bluejays, #redsox and #cubs are the 4 teams on Upton's no-trade list. This deal was never gonna work.

— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 11, 2013

As Morosi and Rosenthal report, we don't know the package of players that Arizona would have been receiving in the deal, even though it's a moot point on that front:

The D-Backs would have received a package of young talent from the Mariners, sources say, but the identity of the other players in the trade is not known.

Upton would have slid right in alongside Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak as the cornerstones of a Mariners franchise that made a run at Josh Hamilton this offseason and continues to struggle to find a big-name hitter to give run support to a pitching staff headlined by Felix Hernandez.

That big name won't be Upton's.

The corner outfielder hit .280 with 17 home runs and 67 RBI in 150 games last season, down significantly from his 31-homer, 88-RBI season in 2011. Many pundits predicted he would be a front-runner for the National League MVP Award in 2012, but his production never caught up to that kind of accolade.

Still, there are plenty of teams—namely the Rangers and Braves—that Upton cannot veto a trade to, and they will continue to propose packages of prospects and major league-ready talent to entice Arizona to move the slugger.

As the initial report points out, there's no guarantee that Arizona decides to move Upton after this latest setback, because it clearly felt that Seattle offered the best package of players in return.

By the time spring training gets under way, Upton could still be roaming the outfield in Arizona.

We'll continue to monitor Upton's trade status in the coming weeks. Don't let this latest hiccup with the Mariners dissuade you—Upton is still garnering the most interest throughout baseball, and teams are still hot on his trail.


Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.