A day has passed since Justin Upton invoked his no-trade clause–nixing the package of Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush, and Stephen Pryor–and we are no closer to figuring out why exactly this deal has been shot down in the first place.
We can speculate, and perhaps you already have. Perhaps Justin Upton truly has some deep rooted desire to stay out of the city of Seattle. Perhaps Justin Upton views SafeCo as a place where right handed power hitters go to die. Perhaps he plans to use this situation to his financial advantage. We don’t know, though the pieces are coming together. The national media seems to believe this deal was never going to happen and a colossal waste of time on both GM’s part. That would suggest one of the first two speculations would seem more appropriate. However, until Upton comes out and publicly states (not going to happen), we are only left to speculate and these two tweets would appear to unearth some fact.
That they do.
Of the two, the Tweet involving Harold Reynolds holds the most weight, as Reyonds’ brother happens to be Upton’s agent. Common sense would dictate that the Reynolds brothers talk, and having lives both so deeply entrenched in baseball–talk about baseball. Harold has deep roots in Seattle, and I have no doubts the topic has come up of Upton’s strong desire to avoid Seattle and the Mariners. This hypothetical conversation is what allowed Reynolds to state on the MLB Network that Upton has told the Diamondbacks over and over that he would shoot down any trade involving the Mariners.
It’s evidence, but it doesn’t make the case.
The Reynolds brothers made a strong case in favor of Upton’s apparently disdain for the Mariners, but it’s not the only factor. Jack Zduriencik and Kevin Towers spent an uncertain amount of hours putting this deal together. Pitching deals to be turned down, collaborating internally, phones calls, faxing paperwork and etc. I personally cannot attest to how much time goes into a trade between two major league clubs, but I can be certain that trades like this don’t come together overnight. This deal took time, and Kevin Towers undoubtedly has better things to do than spend days piecing together a deal that in the end he knows is going to be vetoed.
The last bit of evidence that must be taken into account is the other teams included in Upton’s limited no-trade clause. Of the four, two (BOS, and TOR) boost the numbers of right-handed power hitters. So it might be safe to say that the SafeCo factor, is well… not a factor at all. Upton may care that SafeCo is going to gobble up a bit of his offense, but it certainly isn’t the driving factor behind blocking this deal.
So here we are, new evidence has surfaced, yet we are no closer to finding the true reason why Upton is not currently dawning Mariners blue. If the deal were to go through, this would be one of the roughest starts to a Mariners career possibly ever. Anytime Upton was slumping, or not hustling down the line, or giving his all on defense fans may begin to doubt his dedication to the team, and we’ve seen plenty of toxic player/fan relationships over the past few years. But there is always another side of the coin and we are all familiar with Upton’s potential and what that could bring to Seattle’s offense. Is the price too high and do you still want him, well that is an entirely different matter.