NL West Links: Upton, Hall, Helton, Lee, Padres

The big news out of the NL West today is Justin Upton's rejection of a trade that would have sent him to the Mariners in exchange for four of Seattle's top young players.  The deal would've been a big risk for both sides, though since the Diamondbacks have other outfield options to potentially replace Upton, the bulk of the risk would've fallen on Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik.  As a source opines to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link), Upton may have "saved Jack Z's job" by rejecting the trade and keeping so much top-flight young talent in Seattle.

Here are some more items from around the NL West…

  • The "strained relationship" between Upton and the Diamondbacks makes it seem that Upton will be playing elsewhere by Spring Training, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
  • In a chat with fans at MLB.com that took place before the latest Upton news broke, Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall discussed all of the speculation about the outfielder.  "All of the media speculation is unfortunate, but not unusual," Hall noted, saying that other teams had been telling the media about their interest in Upton.
  • Todd Helton told reporters (including Troy Renck of the Denver Post) that he is recovering well from hip surgery and confirmed he will return for his 17th Major League season.  Helton is entering the final year of his contract with the Rockies and said in September that he wanted to play in 2013 if his health permitted.
  • Dodgers prospect Zach Lee has no regrets about choosing baseball over college football stardom, he tells MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.  Lee was the 28th overall pick of the 2010 draft and received a $5.25MM bonus to sign with the Dodgers instead of playing football at LSU.
  • The millions earned by Major League stars obscures the fact that most minor leaguers earn very modest paychecks, as MLB.com's Corey Brock explores how several Padres prospects make ends meet during the offseason.

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