G.M. Kevin Towers's public willingness to trade JUSTIN UPTON is puzzling. Yes, the 24-year-old Arizona rightfielder is having a down season (just seven homers), but he was an MVP candidate last year and is signed to a team-friendly contract. There's no financial reason to move Upton, so trading him has to be a baseball deal. That means turning Upton into prospects who can fill the team's positional holes—shortstop in particular. The top fits include the Orioles (20-year-old Manny Machadois in their system) and the Rangers (19-year-old Jurickson Profar). But any trade is a heavy risk for Towers. Even a great package would likely leave Arizona fans waiting for years for a payoff—perhaps while watching Upton play in October for another team.
This is an article from the July 23, 2012 issue