Towers: D-backs not close to trading Upton
CHICAGO -- Though various reports might suggest otherwise, Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers told right fielder Juston Upton on Friday the club is not on the brink of trading him.
Towers reached out to Upton on Friday at Wrigley Field to address ongoing reports that the D-backs are listening to offers for and actively shopping Upton.
"If something's coming down and I think it's close, there'll be a heads-up (to Upton)," Towers said Saturday. "I've always been that way with most of my players. If it got close where I think we're at the 1-yard line, I kind of say 'Hey, this is what's coming down, this is what's happening.' I said (to Upton) 'We're not at that point. I don't want it to be a distraction for you.'"
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi first reported last week that the D-backs would be open to trading Upton, who has struggled this year to match the production that helped him finish fourth in National League MVP voting last season. Numerous reports followed, with some indicating the D-backs were doing more than listening.
Towers has held throughout that he has always had a policy of listening to offers on any player, so Upton is no exception.
"I talked to Justin the other day and I said, 'This is no different than the way I approached it before you even got to know me in 2010; I listen on everybody,'" Towers said. "We're in the information-gathering business. If something gets close, I said, 'You'll be a part of the process. I'm not going to shock you.'"
Towers said he has listened to offers for other players, but it's Upton that is most intriguing considering that he was viewed as a franchise cornerstone entering the season and a potential MVP. That seems to have made some teams wonder why the D-backs would move Upton, who is still only 24 years old, but Towers again emphasized his wide-open approach to trade talks.
"We get asked about a lot of our other players, too," Towers said. "That's just always been my approach. If the right deal presents itself, nobody should be untouchable, even the guys with no-trade clauses. My job is to put the best product out there on the field, not only this year but with long-term vision as well."
In his meeting with Upton, Towers also emphasized the bright side of teams inquiring about him.
"I said, 'If anything, you should look at it in a good way that people like you -- not just the D-backs, but you're perceived very, very well throughout baseball,'" Towers said. "We had a good conversation. I think he gets it."
Upton is currently hitting .270 with seven home runs, 37 RBIs and a .349 on-base percentage. He entered play Saturday hitting .237 in July with two extra-base hits.
As the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline approaches, Towers believes there will be fewer sellers and, consequently, fewer players available. That, he said, is a result of now having two wild-card spots.
With more teams still unsure if they'll be in contention for a wild card spot, there could be more teams buying. Only a handful of teams, Towers believes, actually see themselves as sellers this season.
As for the D-backs, Towers is still taking a wait-and-see approach. He said it's still a bit unclear what the D-backs' trade strategy will be but believes that, even without a move, the team is better than it was a year ago despite underachieving so far.
"I still believe in the guys that we have here," Towers said. "That's not to say we couldn't get better. (But) we're not going to make a trade just to make a trade.
"I think there's room for improvement here. We'd like to do something, but it takes two to tango in a trade, and sometimes that's not easy. I think I know what our needs are. I think I know what can help this ballclub, but it's just finding the right match."