There is a 90% chance Justin Upton, one of the most prized trade targets this offseason, will still be with Arizona when Spring Training opens, a Diamondbacks person tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. GM Kevin Towers, however, is still willing to listen to offers for the two-time All-Star.
"Kevin is Kevin. I think there is no one on the roster Kevin wouldn't have a discussion about, if asked,'' said Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick. "I think there's a very high likelihood Justin will be in our starting outfield when we start the new season."
Kendrick refused to quantify the likelihood of Upton returning, but lauded the former first overall draft choice for being "a hard worker, a good person with a good family." Kendrick also sees a "potential superstar" in Upton.
The Diamondbacks are looking for a young shortstop and pitching in any trade for Upton. The Rangers were thought to be front-runners, but have so far refused to part with either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar and have been unsuccessful in involving a third team. Heyman writes there was talk the Rays have also approached the Diamondbacks, but they don't have a young big-league-ready shortstop to deal and couldn't as easily absorb the $38MM remaining on Upton's contract over the next three years.
Also complicating matters is Upton's no-trade clause. Sources tells Heyman the four-team list, which has changed after every season, now includes the Mariners and Blue Jays, although it is believed Upton could be open to a trade to a team on his no-trade list.