Cubs discussed Upton, then walked away...

Cubs discussed Upton, then walked away...

According to ESPN's Bruce Levine, the Cubs looked into acquiring OF Justin Upton but quickly walked away.

The reason?

The Diamondbacks asked for SS Starlin Castro.  Understandably, the Cubs found the idea of trading a 22 year old SS for a 25 year old unacceptable.  I couldn't agree more.

I'm okay with the idea of giving up good young players to add a big, young established power hitter, but a corner OF'er simply doesn't have the kind of value that a young all-around SS does.  Frankly, it's so ridiculous you have to wonder how serious the Diamondbacks are about trading Upton.

The Diamondbacks keep trying to pry a young SS loose, so it's not like they have no concept of positional value.  You'd figure after the Indians refused to part with Asdrubal Cabrera, then the Braves reluctance to deal Andrelton Simmons, and the way the Rangers rejected overtures on both Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, that the D'Backs would realize they aren't fooling anyone.

Apart from the difference in value, there's the problem of trading core pieces for core pieces.  Even if Upton could offer equal value, the deal still doesn't make any sense.  Now you have a young RF as a core player but created a hole at SS.  What's the point?  And please don't tell me it's okay because the Cubs have depth at SS.  Tell me that when those guys are hitting at AA while still projecting to play SS at the MLB level -- and even then you lean toward trading the prospects over the established, cost-controlled young all-star.

I've said a lot on this subject so I'm not eager to rehash everything. What I can say is that it's good to have a front office that understands value.   Knowing that the Cubs quickly walked away from this kind of offer makes me feel even better about this team's direction.


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    Couldn't agree more John, back in the hendry days i think he say ok. I am glad Theo ran away from that offer. Now maybe if it had been Barney and Amaya or something i would have gladly done it then. but i don't think we still wouldn't of had enough to get him.

  • In reply to Larry:

    In absence of a SS, I think they'd want young pitching. Unfortunately, Cubs need that too!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Still trying to figure out why they traded Trevor Bauer if they don't feel like they got their SS of the future...

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    Ever see Bauers mechanics? Not very good, turns his head away from the target and consequently loses velocity in the process. Bauer was throwing 90-93 at the big league level when they brought him up, down about 4-5MPH from where he was when he was drafted. There coaches likely picked up something in his mental approach that was a red flag, because his mechanical issues can be corrected.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    It's really tough too when those things go together. That is, bad mechanics + questionable mental makeup. You have to worry if he can -- or even wants to -- fix it.

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    I applaud the Cubs brass for at least inquiring...Towers musn't be too high on Didi Gregorious as he's let on...I wonder if Barney and some othe rguys would interest them??

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Doesn't hurt to ask.

  • Thank you Jeebus, er Epstoyer!!

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    Agree 100% about knowing there's a Cub front office that knows value and makes sound decisions!
    After decades of head-scratching trades and FA signings, not to mention absolutely no development plan, Theo/Hoyer are becoming predictably awesome in executing their plan.
    The D-Backs are trying to get value for Upton's potential, but teams see the history and the jury's still out on him..seems like he's been on the cusp of superstardom forever and there's a good chance he never reaches his potential. Kind of reminds me of Reggie Sanders.

  • Not only is Upton less likely to achieve true stardom, but he plays a much less important defensive position, is only signed for three more years and would cost more over the length of Castro's contract even if we managed to extend him for some of his free agent years.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    Exactly. Agreed on all counts, cubsin.

  • Couldn't agree more. Glad they recognize the asset that Castro is.

  • In reply to jimmy mac1:

    Locked him up early too, which partly makes up for calling him up too early in the first place.

  • Well at least Levine has a better chance of being right about what didn't happen in the past than about what teams are going to do.

  • In reply to eddie35:

    Guess maybe easier to get info after the fact. Nothing to lose then.

  • The nice part, as many have mentioned, is that the FO is at least doing their due diligence and checking on people like Upton and then having the balls to stick with their plan. I realize the Cubs Convention is a hype machine but there seems to be a different attitude with everybody knowing that there is a plan and it doesn't change on a year to year basis. A smart guy told me once "If you fail to plan, plan to fail." and no, it wasn't Jim Hendry:) As usual, thanks for the articles and great work John. I'm so glad I found this site.

  • In reply to BobMiller146:

    Thank you Bob. Agreed it's nice that they don't dismiss these ideas out of hand, but when AZ was looking to win a deal on a guy they *want* to trade, it's also important to just walk away.

  • Smart move, TheoJed. Upton isn't worth Baez/Vogelbach as far as Im concerned, he put up very pedestrian numbers playing half his games in the light air of the Arizona desert. Upton is a decent player, but hes not worth Castro, nor your top 5 prospects.

  • Now John, just hold your horses. We should have made that deal, then put Barney @ SS and signed Baker to play 2nd. When are you people going to learn to make the right deal?

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Well, I tried to put the /sarcasm in there but it didn't take. LOL!

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Barney and Baker? Barney Fife and Gene Baker are no longer viable options.
    (Back in the day, I loved Gene Baker at 2nd, with Ernie at Short.)
    Glad we have a savvy Front Office--finally.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Haha! You almost had me going there for a second :)

  • Yeah Catro for Upton makes no sense. Not to mention the fact that Castro was a WAY better contract than Upton. In a couple years Upton is going to want huge money. No thanks. I thought Towers liked that Didi dude he traded for anway? Maybe Towers finally looked at the #'s Didi put up in the minors, he can't hit a lick.

  • In reply to Justin:

    Looks like he's hedging his bet a little there.

  • OT a bit, CCO is reporting Cubs just signed Spellcheck and Russell, avoiding Arb.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    If true - good signings.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Saw that. Think I mentioned it in the last thread somewhere but didn't put it any article.

  • Sometimes the best deal that can be made is no deal.

    This is one such 'deal'. Glad they walked away. This would only have been a 'good' trade if other pieces with high upside were included from Upton's side of the deal. Upton and a young stud starting pitching prospect for Castro might have been a good deal,... but that was apparently not on the table.

    I still think Theo & company are heading down the smart rebuilding path.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Theo has said something to the effect that if you're going to trade a core player, you need to get two in return for it to matter -- and that teams, understandably, are unwilling to do that. I think the Cubs would entertain the idea of trading Castro if they were to get multiple top players in return, just don't see other teams paying that price.

  • If the Dbacks really did propose such a trade, hopefully the Cubs countered with, will give you James Russel and Dave Sappelt for Upton. Makes about as much sense as the Arizona proposal.

  • Id give them Vitters and Sappelt in a second for Upton, maybe even toss Raley in. Of course, I doubt theyd think much of it. Im guessing Upton ends up in Atl , joining his brother there. Wont have to chase too many Flyballs there as long as Kimbrel and his lefty counterpart, Johnny V are there.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    My feeling is Atlanta as well. They can give AZ the young pitching they want as an alternative to SS. Braves won't give up Simmons, though.

  • Ha! I do like they just walked away, though. Sends a message: Call us when you're serious.

  • The F.O. is full of bright guys. It's terrific.

  • Just curious about Upton's trade value, do you think a package of Barney, Brett Jackson, and Garza would be enough for Upton? Maybe they are looking for more prospects, but the logic with Garza may be they could trade him by the deadline if they are out of it.

    Mostly I'm just inquiring on what it would take and not trying to play Nostradamus and predict it exactly, just trying to figure a fit that would not include the top four prospects (delusional I'm sure).

  • In reply to Abe Froman:

    Probably not close. The D-Backs would have to consider Barney a SS, which isn't too far of a leap, but that package is nowhere close to the kind of value they've been asking for in return for Upton.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I have to disagree with you. I would think Garza alone is enough and I personally would not do that trade. Giving all three is like giving them Castro. Upton is just a good corner OF that is not very cost controlled and AZ wants to dump him. They are not that hard to find. Up the middle defense(BJAX&Barney) and pitching(Garza) are the high value positions.

  • In reply to John57:

    I think you are spot on with that comment John. I wouldn't deal Garza straight up for Upton, and I most certainly wouldn't even consider dealing Castro for him. Heck, I wouldn't even deal Castro to get Stanton and GS is a stud.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    I would happily trade Garza for Upton straight up. Upton is younger, he's a position player (lower risk), and he's under club control for longer. Upton has put up more fWAR in his career than Garza has, despite being four years younger.

  • In reply to Abe Froman:

    Go ahead and play Nostadamus. They're still hurtin' from the Alabama game, and now this Te'o thing.....

  • Alfonso Soriano is here to stay to the very end.
    Does not want to leave Chicago.

    So lets end all this Cubs trade talk with him.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    We should certainly end the trade talk. In the history of baseball, no player has ever been traded after saying that he liked his current team. And certainly no player with no-trade rights has ever left voluntarily after comments like that.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Just did a search on the entire thread. The word Soriano is not present in anyone else's comment.

  • I grew up on the north side of Chicago & currently live in Phoenix. I am still a very loyal (or still crazy enough to be) Cubs fan but, have adopted the D'Backs as my second team.

    I have watched the D'Backs since day one & can tell you "J-Up" was one of their "Baby-Backs" that would change the franchise! He was given the keys to the team & has done absolutely nothing with his talents. He "tolerates" fans and does zero in the community! Plain & simple - Upton is a Problem!! They have been trying to get rid of him for over a year now with no luck. Besides Seattle, not one teams is willing to take on a young, cost controlled power hitting corner OF, why? Well, the same reason AZ is trying hard to dump him.

    He is not a team player, he is not fan-friendly, and honestly like his ex-team mate Chris Young, he is a streaky hitter, that tends to pad stats in low pressure games. I can count only a few times when he hit the game winner or made a diving catch to save a run.

    When the D'Backs call - hang up!! You do not want what they are selling!!

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    In reply to jaxx51:

    Good first hand info Jaxx51. Just more fuel for the fire.

  • In reply to jaxx51:

    More verification of those red flags. I'm somewhat surprised the Cubs would even consider trading for him, but then they might figure they could convert him to the "Cubs way" and he could realize all of his potential.

  • All of the above are important reasons, but I suspect that the MOST important reason is that Arizona is just asking too much in return.

    I suspect that Hoyer would offer Sappelt in return for Upton, even with all the above mentioned attitude problems.

  • You're right Dave, they are asking for too much in return.

    FYI - Forgot to mention they quietly took down the "Uptown" sign down in the RF bleachers this winter for "routine maintenance" and surprise, when Towers was asked when it would be put back up and he confirmed it would not. So, that tells you they have given up on him and one way or another he should be gone by the '13 deadline.

    Also, T Bauer was traded because K Gibson & Towers are old school and hated his workout/warm-up routines. Even though he was assured when they drafted him, everything was cool - they demanded he change and the kid refused.

    Fans loved him and his pregame antics. He is a bit wild (Mitch Williams?) but, super strong arm and really dedicated to get better. Hopefully he will find support in a new organization and eventually pans out & doesn't become another Turk "the quirk" Wendell.

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    I've also heard that the Cubs are one of 4 teams on his no trade clause. The Mariners are also on there, and he turned down that trade, as we all know, so why waste our time? He doesn't want to play here, for whatever reason.

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    You know what's scarey? If the previous regime were still in charge, they might have done this deal. It makes me even happier that they aren't in charge.

    Such a deal wouldn't have been even close to equivalent value. Trading a 5-tool SS for a 5-tool OF is an uneven trade based on their positions alone. The 5-tool SS is a much rarer find. The only thing Upton has on Castro is that he draws more walks, but Castro strikes out a lot less, and Castro will probably draw more walks as he matures.

    Turning this trade down was a no-brainer, and Epstein and Hoyer never thought one second about it. I can only imagine what that phone conversation was like.

    KT: "Hey Jed, how's it hanging?"

    JH: "Pretty good Kevin, and yourself?"

    KT: "Not bad! I bet you guys are looking forward to some warm Arizona sunshine next month."

    JH: "Yeah Kev, we are. Hey buddy, there's a rumor going around that Upton is on the block. The Cubs are interested. Do we have anything that interests you?"

    KT: "How about Starlin Castro?"

    JH: "Seriously, is your phone messed up? Because I thought you just said Starlin Castro."

    KT: "No Jed, you heard me right."

    JH: "Kev, can you hold on a sec? I gotta tell the Epster about this."

    JH: "Hey Epster, Towers will give us Upton straight up for Castro."

    Epstein spits out his fresh new Starbucks and laughs.

    JH: "Hey Kev, you just made Eppy spit out his coffee laughing. I think you can take that as a "no."

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    Middle infielders with offensive potential are difficult to acquire and keep. I guess that is why I was so upset when the Cubs deal Hak-Ju Lee in the Garza deal. I understand you have to give up value to get value, but Hendry screwed the pooch on that one (especially considering how the Cubs could use Archer now).

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