Sunday, July 22, 2012

Confused on the Justin Upton situation

The Arizona Diamondbacks' Justin Upton is not having as good a season as last season. That fact is obvious. But how and why does that translate to wanting to trade a former 1st Round draft pick who is only twenty-four and already has 99 homers to his credit? And how bad is his current season? His fWAR is the exact same as Nick Swisher. And even with his diminished season, Upton has already performed to a value of $7.8 million. He is currently making $6.5 million. What the heck is up with this trade talk? Is not Justin Upton a piece you build a franchise around?

By the time this season is over, Justin Upton will have hit as many or more homers before his 25th birthday than Mark Teixeira, Frank Thomas and Gary Sheffield. In five full seasons, he has compiled 16.6 WAR or an average of more than five a season. That's a pretty good career start. He is an above average fielder in right and a far above average base runner. So can somebody give this observer a clue as to why the Diamondbacks sounds so hot to do this?

Since this writer is not the only one to be baffled by the trade rumors, the inevitable has happened and people are looking for dark secrets and painting Justin Upton as a malcontent. His agent and his general manager have both said those rumors are stupid.  Now what isn't known is Upton's relationship with his manager and his teammates. But unless there is something concrete to talk about, any talk about those relationships being the reason for Upton's rumors would be unfair. You could read into those dumb statements made earlier in the season by Ken Kendrick that singled out Upton and Drew, but that statement was made silly by the fact that Drew was recovering from a broken leg for crying out loud.

Even if they were true, big deal. Babe Ruth had trouble with his managers. Reggie Jackson was not universally loved by his teammates. Gary Sheffield did not have a mild personality. So what? And can much be made of Upton's below-par season? Not really. If he puts a string of sub-par seasons together like Hanley Ramirez has, then the talk would be appropriate. But that is not the case here.

So again, why would the Diamondbacks be so anxious to trade him? Upton has a favorable contract for the next few years if you go by Upton's body of work. Just a season ago, at the age of 23, he had a near MVP season. Something doesn't make sense here. Justin Upton is the kind of young talent that every team is looking for. He has had major league success. He has nothing but a positive future ahead of him. Color this observer clueless because the whole thing seems ridiculous.


Artie said...

You know, the whole Upton situation can be summed up with one single, probably unnoticed (by many) incident that took place in the Diamondbacks dugout during a game last year. I believe it was in San Diego, and Upton did something stupid on the field. Eric Young, the d'backs first base coach walked up to Upton to talk to him about it, and not only did Upton NEVER stop walking away from Young, he NEVER even looked at him, showing a former, accomplished Major Leager ANY kind of respect at all...Even the Diamondbacks two boneheaded announcers at the time, Sutton and Grace noticed it and commented he SHOULD HAVE stopped, liistened and looked Young in the eye. THIS is his main problem...He's been told how "wonderful" he is for a very long time now, and he believes he knows it all. His brother BJ is made up of the same stuff. It's simply bad attitude and the probability he'll NEVER reach his full potential. The d'backs need to trade him and let him be some other team's problem.

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Interesting insight, Artie. Thanks.

Bill Miller said...

William, I'm completely with you on this one. I think the whole "malcontent" thing is highly overrated. When a 24-year old has 99 homers and a career OPS+ of 117, he has to be given the benefit of the doubt. If he gets hot, and he certainly might, he is capable of carrying the D-Backs on his back for a month at a time. You know who else often had a bad attitude, and pissed off managers, teammates and fans alike? Some guy named Ted Williams.
Let's cut the kid some slack here.
Bill Miller

Anonymous said...

2 years ago rockies pitcher 15-1 record before all-star game, started all-star game, pitched a no-hitter against atlanta .BAM next year gone to cleveland. go figure everybody has a price and not indispensable no matter how good. it's not america's pastimetime anymore it's a business. SAD vary SAD.

DJB said...

Have you seen his attitude when he strikes out with men on? He smiles and blows a bubble. Have you watched him not bother to hurry for a fly ball? Have you watched him shy away from the wall? (this may be because his friend C Young got hurt running into the wall. Basically it's been his body language. However, I must say he has improved in the last week since he was moved from 3 to 5 in the batting order.

bobook said...

Agreed with Artie's comments and have said the same for a long time now of his brother in Tampa. Would like to know of their family and upbringing. Fantastic ability militated by poor attitude. Wouldn't take either for my team.

bobook said...

Couple of articles indicate Uptons received nothing but a solid foundation. Perhaps Mr. Miller correct and my perception needs changing.