We heard two weeks ago that Arizona was talking with slugger Mark Reynolds about a long-term contract, but today, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reported that the Snakes were also looking at signing Justin Upton to a multi-year pact.
Upton, the first overall pick in the 2005 entry draft, hit .300./.366/.532 in 588 plate appearances in 2009. His .899 OPS was the highest of any Diamondbacks regular, edging out Reynolds' .892 mark. As Gilbert points out, a long-term contract for Upton would be more expensive than a similar deal for Reynolds, given Upton's success at a young age and overall high profile as a prospect coming through Arizona's system. That said, if Upton continues to improve as he has through his first three years in the bigs, the D'Backs could be saving themselves some serious cash (and arbitration hearing headaches) by getting Upton signed now.
Both Reynolds and Upton aren't eligible for arbitration until after this season and aren't eligible for free agency until after the 2013 campaign. But, signing one or both of the young stars to long-term deals would alleviate any fan disappointment that might arise if Brandon Webb leaves as a free agent or is dealt at mid-season.
Gilbert notes that managing general partner Ken Kendrick doesn't want any negotiations to interfere with the regular season, so if the Snakes are going to lock their young duo up, it will have to happen before the end of spring training.