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.
- We start with The News Tribune’s story on the vetoed trade.
- Over at the Seattle Times, Larry Stone has a similar story on the Upton-nixed deal.
- On his blog, Stone analyzed the would-have-been trade.
- This is the original report of Upton’s decision from Fox Sports.
- At USS Mariner, Dave Cameron explains about no-trade clauses and how teams can work around them.
- Using a lot of math and logic on his national site Fangraphs, Cameron comes to essentially the same conclusion that I did (minus the Rainiers aspects).
- Larry Stone caught up with Edgar Martinez in the aftermath of the Hall Of Fame vote. Edgar knows its going to be a long process.
- It’s not Mariners-related, but it’s an enlightening story anyway. Old buddy Corey Brock has an excellent piece on Padres minor leaguers, what they get paid, and what they do during the off-season. One Tucson Padres player spent an off-season hosting a Trivia Night & Burlesque show.
- No Mariners made Keith Law’s ESPN list of the top 25 players under the age of 25, but it’s still fun to read.
- In the PCL, Las Vegas 51s radio guy Russ Langer won the Nevada Sportscaster of the Year… for the sixth year in a row. Dynasty!
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!