UPDATE 8:45: Jon Heyman of CBS just tweeted that Taijuan Walker was the “Big Three” pitcher who would have gone to Arizona in the proposed trade.
Arizona outfielder Justin Upton invoked his no-trade clause to veto an agreed-upon trade to the Mariners.
That was first reported by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX, and I’ve gotten confirmation. No word on the players the Mariners offered, but it sounds like it was substantial. (Just saw that Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, on twitter, also confirmed the story and used the same word — “substantial” to describe the Mariners’ offer) I’d guess one of the Big Three pitchers and shortstop Nick Franklin is a plausible package, and the Mariners might have had to even go beyond that. In fact, Scott Miller of CBS Sports said that in addition to one of the pitchers and Franklin, Seattle relievers Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor would have been among the players sent.
The Mariners worked very hard to get this deal done, from what I’ve been told — proven by the fact that the Diamondbacks agreed to it, among other offers they received. No surprise they did — those names add up to a lot of talent, albeit little of it proven at the major-league level.
Upton’s contract allows him to veto a trade to four teams, including the Mariners. And he has done just that, it seems. (Other teams reported to be on Upton’s list are the Blue Jays, Cubs and Red Sox). It’s conceivable the deal with Seattle could be revived, as Rosenthal and Morosi point out. Sometimes players can be given financial incentive, such as a contract extension, to waive their no-trade rights. I suspect, however, it’s done as far as the Mariners and Upton are concerned, unless Upton is so anxious to get out of Arizona that he reconsiders his veto if there are no other options. (Update: Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says now that the Rangers have made their final offer to Arizona on Upton and are “moving on. Hard to imagine the Diamondbacks keeping Upton after trying so hard to deal him).
Jack Zduriencik declined any comment on the purported trade. The Diamondbacks have been rumored all winter to be dangling Upton, with the Rangers among his most ardent pursuers. The Braves, who earlier this year signed B.J. Upton, Justin’s brother, are said to be another possible trade candidate for Arizona.
I’ve been a proponent of a Seattle trade for Upton, a two-time All-Star who at age 25 still has a lot of upside. I’m not a believer in just blithely giving up the minor-league talent the Mariners have been honing. But to get a proven major-league bat like Upton’s, I believe it would have been worth it, particularly with the prospect depth the Mariners have built. It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen, however.
Upton signed a six-year contract in March of 2010, which still has three years and $38.5 million remaining.