Diamondbacks Listening On Justin Upton

6:09pm: Marc Carig of The Star-Ledger says that like the Red Sox, the Yankees were just doing their due diligence when they called about Upton.

3:33pm: The Yankees talked to the Diamondbacks about Upton, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

12:56pm: The Red Sox expressed interest in Upton, report Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  However, one source tells the FOX writers the talks are "not far advanced," while WEEI's Rob Bradford heard the rumor has "no legs."  Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe concurs, calling the discussions "more due diligence than actual trade talk" (Twitter link).

10:59am: You may have missed it yesterday, but USA Today's Bob Nightengale listed Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton as one of the big names GMs say are already "under discussion."  GM Kevin Towers elaborated:

"I'm open to listening on anybody.  We got more hits on Upton and [Stephen] Drew. They're difficult to move, but sometimes to make your club better, you have to move good players. You never know when a deal might present itself."

This could be little more than a GM taking the common stance that no player is untouchable.  Today Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that while the D'Backs are listening on Upton, the return would have to be "big."  He notes that they're much less inclined to move Drew – they'd have to be "blown away," given the lack of alternatives at shortstop.

Upton, still only 23, regressed a bit in the first year of his six-year, $51.25MM contract.  He hit .273/.356/.442 in 571 plate appearances, though a shoulder strain may have been partially responsible.  Though he slipped in all three categories, his walk rate was actually higher than it was in '09.  Since Upton would not have been arbitration eligible until now, almost all of his contract will be paid out over 2011-15. 

Trading Upton would be very difficult from a public relations standpoint unless the D'Backs receive a comparable young star in return.  It's difficult to picture Upton terrorizing the D'Backs over the next five years as a member of the Rockies, Dodgers, Padres, or Giants, but any club could afford Upton financially.  In the opinion of Rosenthal's colleague Jon Paul Morosi, the Braves would be at the front of the line for Upton and they have the young arms to pull off a deal (Twitter link).

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