Sources: Upton has four-team no-trade clause
By Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal
Major league sources told FOXSports.com on Monday that Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton can block trades to four teams: the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs.
It’s not known whether Upton would use the no-trade clause to block deals to those clubs. Players often include high-revenue teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs in no-trade protection, thinking that those organizations are better positioned to offer financial inducements in an effort to persuade the player to waive the clause.
Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has said publicly that he’s willing to listen to offers for Upton, the talented 24-year-old who finished fourth in National League MVP balloting last year but has been booed at home this year amid a down season. Upton went 0 for 10 during a weekend series against the Cubs and is hitting .254 with no home runs in his past 17 games, leaving him at .264 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs so far this season.
Upton is under contract through 2015 at a relatively affordable total price of $34.5 million over the next three years, so there’s no urgency for the Diamondbacks to trade him.
The Pirates have been viewed as one of Upton’s most serious suitors, but the clubs don’t have an obvious trade match. The Diamondbacks would like a long-term shortstop or third baseman, and the Pirates don’t have a player to match that need.
Triple-A outfielder Starling Marte, considered the top position-player prospect in the Pittsburgh system, has drawn rave reviews for his defense, but scouts and executives from multiple clubs continue to express doubt about his ability to become a star. He has been described by one scout as a "tweener" with shaky instincts in center field and not enough power for for a corner-outfield spot.
The scout also said Marte, who turns 24 in October, struggles with good fastballs and too frequently is caught stealing; he has succeeded in only 18 of 30 attempts this year.
At this point, it seems unlikely that he could be the centerpiece of a trade for a player such as Upton.