News and Rumors: Upton, Beltre, Lee, Werth

by on November 18, 2010   4 Comments

Justin Upton trade rumors

This past spring, I wrote a short piece praising the Arizona Diamondbacks for signing young star outfielder Justin Upton to a 6-year, $51.25 million contract.  At the time, Upton was coming off a strong 2009 campaign, where he batted .300 while hitting 26 home runs, driving in 86 runs, and stealing 20 bases in just 138 games.

Upton regressed a bit during the 2010 season, but the 23-year old still had a fine season, batting .273 with 17 home runs, 69 runs batted in, 73 runs scored, and 18 stolen bases.  Upton’s numbers dropped in most major statistical categories (Upton’s walk rate rose, which is a good sign, however.), but they weren’t drastic enough to warrant any kind of panic.

When news first broke that the Diamondbacks were willing to discuss dealing Upton, it seemed like nothing but a rumor.  Perhaps it was just the Arizona front office, saying those things to let everyone know that no one is safe, warning players to not get too complacent.

But on Wednesday, Jayson Stark confirmed that Arizona GM Kevin Towers is indeed willing to discuss deals that would move the face of the franchise, saying that the Diamondbacks are “genuinely open” to moving Upton.

But why?  Why consider trading away a young outfielder who appears to have the kind of tools to build a team around?  It makes very little sense, having a young outfielder that is the caliber of Upton, who is signed to a very team-friendly contract.

The chances are slim that Upton is moved, as reports indicate that Arizona is looking for a very large haul of top of the line prospects who can help them both now and in the future, but there is still a chance that the younger of the Upton brothers gets moved.

Open Mouth, Insert Foot – starring Torii Hunter

by on March 15, 2010   No Comments

Angels center fielder Torii Hunter had a mic in his face at the wrong time this past week when he was quoted as saying that black latino players were “imposters” and inferred that Major League baseball signed black Latinos as an alternative to black Americans.  Hunter’s comments, while remarkably misinformed, had a positive side effect of sparking up debate over an international draft.  Hunter’s quote:

“People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African American.  They’re not us. They’re impostors… As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us.  It’s like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It’s like, ‘Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?’

Judge: Kentucky LHP Paxton Must Answer to NCAA

by on January 16, 2010   No Comments

James Paxton, a senior left-handed pitcher from the University of Kentucky, was drafted 37th overall in the 2009 Major League Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, but chose not to sign by the August 17th, opting to return to Kentucky for his senior season.  The only problem – mega-agent Scott Boras, who was “advising” Paxton prior to the draft, apparently stepped in to negotiate on an agent level as the deadline approached.  Naturally, the NCAA wanted to ask Paxton a few questions.  He refused.  Judge and jury enter stage left.