Upton trade likelihood on the wane
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By Ken Rosenthal
Two general managers who spoke with the Diamondbacks' Kevin Towers in recent days described him as growing more pessimistic about trading right fielder Justin Upton.
The Blue Jays have enough young pitching to satisfy the D-Backs, but it's unclear whether they would want to make such a deal for Upton. Teams such as the Reds and Nationals, while possibly interested in Upton, do not appear to match up for one reason or another, sources say.
The D-Backs likely will lay low until the winter meetings, then resume active discussions. One problem: A high-revenue team such as the Red Sox might prefer to sign free agents rather than give up talent for Upton.
Under baseball's inequitable rules of compensation, the Sox would come out ahead in draft picks if they lost catcher Victor Martinez and third baseman Adrian Beltre and replaced them with two other Type A free agents.
They would gain two first-round picks plus two supplemental picks for losing Martinez and Beltre while forfeiting only a first- and second-rounder for signing two other Type As.
Meanwhile, the Orioles are sifting through the available names at first and third base, two positions where they want to improve. Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds is a trade possibility under discussion, but a realistic only if the team's offseason unfolds in certain ways, sources say.
Free agents routinely spurn the O's when they have better alternatives, which is why it might make sense for the club to take a chance on Reynolds, who hit 32 home runs last season but batted .198/.320/.453 and struck out more than 200 times for the third straight year.
If the Orioles acquired Reynolds and signed, say, free-agent first baseman Carlos Pena, they would be getting two boom-or-bust offensive players. But Pena is an excellent defender and advanced metrics show that Reynolds is improving at third.
Would either be a perfect fit? No. But the Orioles are unlikely to sign Paul Konerko or Victor Martinez to play first, and they probably would prefer third-base prospect Josh Bell to get additional time at Triple A.
Reynolds, 27, grew up in neighboring Virginia and is signed for $5 million next season and $7.5 million in 2012 with an $11 million option for '13.
Sure, right-hander Zack Greinke was frustrated last season, and for good reason