Sep. 29, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton (10) stands at bat during the game against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Why Justin Upton Just Wasn’t Worth It for the Seattle Mariners


Ultimately, Justin Upton had put the Seattle Mariners on his no-trade list, so his prospects of becoming a Mariner were really low. When Upton was traded to the Atlanta Braves, his package consisted of:

That’s a pretty expensive trade. Sure, if the Mariners had been able to pull it off, they might not be scrambling to figure out who exactly will wind up on that 40-man roster for opening day. But carrying out Upton’s contract may have broke them. This way, too, he is able to join his brother on the same team. Playing with his brother was also probably part of the appeal for him to be cool with the Diamondbacks-Braves deal. 

The Mariners were prepared to make a deal, but Upton rejected it. The official offering wasn’t released, other than a commentary that the deal would have been “substantial.” I’m not entirely sure, if the deal was “substantial” that the Mariners should have made it. After all, the Mariners need every possible advantage they have. While Larry Stone has admitted he has been a proponent in the past of an Upton-Mariners trade, I’m not sure this would have been the best thing.

Here’s why. If you’re trading three big guys for one big guy, you’re going to have to fill that hole with someone. On the Mariners’ budget, it’s unlikely that someone will be particularly good. Sure a .280 batting average is no joke – but at the same time, is it worth giving up proven pitchers and a group of veteran sluggers who may be on the decline, but may be able to knock it out of the park a bit more. Moreover, if you’re giving up even some okay guys who have been consistent for  a single guy who is good, you’re taking a pretty big risk: You may be opening up more problems than the new guy is worth.

Sure, I might sound like I’m saying a bird in the hand is worth five in the bush, at the same time, I think that it would have been a mistake to sacrifice three or four reasonably good players for one pretty darn good, but possibly declining player. Frankly, I just failed to see the appeal. Perhaps we dodged a bullet by his refusal to come to Seattle, or perhaps he’ll show everyone what he can really do while he plays with the Braves. What do you think?

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  • Harrison_Crow

    You are speaking in pure generalities. Of course it would have been worth it. I love Walker and Franklin, but the depth we have in the minor league system would have been more than worth it.

    Upton may need to mature but he’s been a major league hitter for multiple years and proves year in and year out he’s moving more and more to becoming a premier bat. Those don’t grow on trees and you have to spend to get/keep ‘em.

  • Aaron Bowen

    I find the comment that Upton “saved Jack Z’s job” very telling: https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/289552536946479104