This is Justin Upton, who clearly thinks he’s way too cool to wear blue and teal.
Word came out today that Justin Upton has refused to waive his no-trade clause to come to Seattle. This taught us two things.
1. What it would take to get Justin Upton, which was apparently Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, and one of Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, and Danny Hultzen.
2. Justin Upton was serious about that no trade clause.
The second could become a beacon for fans that believe that nobody wants to come to Seattle. Validation of a prophecy once left unfulfilled.
What it could mean though, if you’re willing to look at the cup like a less cynical asshole, is that and the Mariners have yet to reach an agreement on the terms of his trade. Players often make their no-trade clause a list of teams they are likely to go to. They often make it a list of places they don’t want to go to. Sometimes those lists have significant overlap, sometimes they don’t.
And it’s easy to call Upton greedy, and that he’s unfairly upping the dollar value of a multi-year contract he signed by exploiting a clause in it. Those things might be true, or they might not be true. But Upton’s logic is reasonably sound.
Upton will be a free agent after the 2015 season and going into his age 28 season. If he experiences poor results over the next three years the value of his next contract will likely be much less than if he becomes more productive, or remains equally productive.
Past years have shown Safeco Field to be a stadium that suppresses offense. The fences are moving in, but we can’t quantify the effect of that at this time.
Mitigating potential financial damages by asking for present-day dollars in place of future earnings isn’t a wild notion. In fact, it’s basically the foundation of every pre-arbitration extension that gets signed. We may not like it, but it isn’t isolated to Upton, and if you were faced with a similar scenario in your job, especially considering the volatility of unemployment in the professional baseball industry, you’d probably do the same.
I’m not in love with Justin Upton, but I’m not completely against parting with any of the prospects in the trade. I’d like it if the fourth member of the trade were Paxton, and not Hultzen or Walker, but I’d feel pretty good exiting any trade for a controllable hitter with two of the three top pitching prospects still in the organization.
I think Franklin’s fine. I think it’s a bit of an awkward fit for a team that just traded for Didi Gregorius, but I don’t have to fill out their lineup card. I like Brad Miller a lot, too, so I’ve always viewed Franklin as a guy that was more expendable than his prospect status would traditionally indicate.
Pryor and Furbush are both high-leverage relievers. These are the kinds of guys you can find in a lot of unique ways, guys that you can develop pretty quickly from the draft, and guys that should be used to top off trades like this.
At this point though, none of them are gone. I doubt this is the last we hear about this, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a trade for Justin Upton made by the Mariners.