Updated Jul 13, 2012 - 3:53 pm
Trading Justin Upton a big risk for Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks GM, known to be one of baseball's biggest wheelers and dealers, appears to be on the verge of trading Justin Upton.
The rumors have been swirling for more than a week now, and more and more does each report seem to contain a note about how Upton doesn't listen to his coaches or how team executives are "not convinced Upton is a winning player."
Those kind of rumors leak when a team is looking to unload a popular player in hopes that the fans will turn against the guy, making a questionable trade seem like a no- brainer.
It seems to be working, as the fans have already begun to turn against Upton.
You know, the guy who the D-backs selected first overall in the 2005 MLB Draft, promoted to the big leagues in the middle of a pennant race at the ripe old age of 19, went to his first All-Star game at 20 and had a section of the right field stands named after him, all before the 2011 season, where he finished fourth in the NL MVP voting.
To say the Diamondbacks were counting on Upton to be a star would be an understatement, just as saying he's had his share of struggles this season would be.
Upton, for all intents and purposes, has underachieved as a professional. And yet, should Towers and the D-backs decide to move him, they'll undoubtedly get some talent in return.
But the risk, as Towers himself noted on Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf Wednesday, is that the 24-year-old finally gets it and becomes the player everyone expected him to be.
"I think anytime you're talking about players like Justin Upton there's always that chance that if you end up moving him it could backfire on you, but you have to have confidence in yourself, in your evaluators."
Of course, because no team would ever make a deal under the assumption that it would turn out to be a bad move, and teams don't usually aim to hand over future hall of famers.
But it has happened -- it does happen -- and Towers may very well decide to take that risk over the next few weeks.
And if he does, the move will define his entire tenure as the general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, because this is a trade most feel he does not have to make.
Sure, Upton's batting average is nothing special, his power numbers are lacking and his effort wanes at times. His game is not where many thought it would be at this point in his career, and his struggles seem to epitomize all that is wrong with the 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks.
There's a chance Upton will not get better, and in that case a move should be made to unload the guy while he still holds great value.
Yet, for all his faults, he is still one of the more feared hitters in baseball, is still capable of getting hot and carrying the team, and is still someone many believe one can build a team around.
And he's under contract at a reasonable price, too.
Towers has maintained that while he is not afraid to make a trade, he will only pull the trigger if it makes the team better in 2012 and for the future. The issue with trading someone like Upton, though, is he could help in 2012 and in the future.
Is Towers willing to risk letting him do that for a different team?
That's what he has to determine over the next few weeks. This isn't Kelly Johnson for Aaron Hill and John McDonald, which was a clear win, or Jarrod Parker and Ryan Cook for Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow, which looks like a loss.
This is trading a guy who the Arizona Diamondbacks were, once upon a time, going to be built around before he reaches what should be his prime.
Is it really a risk worth taking?