Upton Says “No,” Rainiers Stay Intact

According to multiple reliable sources, yesterday Seattle worked out a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks to acquire young slugger Justin Upton – only to have Upton invoke a “no-trade clause” in his contract and veto the trade.

Just like that, no trade.

When I heard the rumored details, I thought to myself, “It’s too bad that didn’t go through, because the Mariners could really use Upton. But that trade would have destroyed the 2013 Rainiers!”

According to published reports, the Mariners would have given up:

  • one of the three top pitching prospects, probably Taijuan Walker
  • infielder Nick Franklin
  • major league relievers Charlie Furbush and Steven Pryor

Purely from a big-league perspective, I like the deal. The Mariners would have traded two major league relief pitchers and two guys who might, someday, reach the majors for an established star. Upton can’t become a free agent until after the 2015 season so it’s not a “player rental” or anything like that.

(I know a lot of fans don’t want to trade the minor league prospects that the team has been hyping recently. Yes, the Mariners have been burned by doing this in the past – see Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera and Adam Jones – but all of those guys were traded for players who did not have a long-term purpose for the Mariners, whereas Upton would be here for a while. As a high-ranking baseball official I know likes to say, “You know what a prospect is? A minor leaguer.”).

Once I let the nixed deal settle into my brain a bit, I realized something: it would have crushed the 2013 Rainiers roster.

Think about it:

  • we lose one Tacoma starting pitcher
  • we lose one Rainiers starting infielder, probably forcing team to rush-promote one of the AA guys
  • we lose two Tacoma relievers to the big leagues

The last problem appears that it would have been the biggest right now. Unless the Mariners sign one or two Triple-A/MLB vets to minor league deals before spring training (think Josh Kinney/Oliver Perez/Sean Henn from last year), the Rainiers are going to be very young and inexperienced in the bullpen. This trade would have really thinned it out!

The other thought I had: “I can’t wait to see the crazy numbers Nick Franklin would post in that launching pad at Reno.” Glad we don’t have to worry about that now.

OK, wow, that was a lot of wasted words on something that didn’t happen. Moving along now.

Links:

This will be a fun football weekend. As many of you know, I grew up in the SF Bay Area and I am a Niners fan. That being said, I am rooting for both SF and Seattle to win this weekend. I think that 49ers-Seahawks, Round Three to see who goes to the Super Bowl would be the most fun game for next weekend. Go Niners and Seahawks!

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