Latest on D-Backs outfielders and Justin Upton

Justin Upton 3 polaroidEarlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com said, while some people in baseball feel the D-Backs could still trade Justin Upton this winter, others still believe they prefer to move Jason Kubel.

Later in the day, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney said he’s talked to team officials who believe it will be Upton – not Kubel – who gets dealt before Spring Training.

Arizona has changed its demands in a deal for Upton, Olney explains, adding, “The Diamondbacks have viewed Seattle as a possible landing spot, but remember, he would have to approve any deal to the Mariners.”

Earlier this winter, reports indicated Arizona was seeking a young, top-hitting shortstop in a deal for Upton. However, they have since acquired SS prospect Didi Gregorius from Cleveland (in the three-way deal that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds).

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, last summer and at the start of this off season I was told by people familiar with Arizona’s goals that the D-Backs would want Jon Niese and a top prospect to start a deal for Upton. The buzz has long been that, to move Upton, it would need to be a deal that helps the big-league club today. So, it couldn’t be a package of prospects, the deal would need to include a impact, big-league player. I assume the same can be said today, but perhaps things have changed.

Statistics and information on Justin Upton...

Contract: Upton will earn $9.75 million next season, during which Niese will earn $3 million. Upton’s salary bumps up to $14.25 million in 2014 and $14.5 million in 2015, after which he is eligible to be a free agent.

Stats: Upton hit .280 with a .355 OBP and .430 SLG with 17 home runs and 67 RBI and 121 strikeouts in 554 at-bats in 2012.