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 Fangraphs.com 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.