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Updated Jul 9, 2012 - 7:51 pm

Trading Upton now makes no sense

I’ll admit it.

I get really frustrated sometimes when I watch Justin
Upton
play baseball.

Whether it’s seeing him struggle with a ball in the corner
or
when he strikes out with runners in scoring position in
key
situations, there are varying levels of frustration
reached.

Judging from the booing Upton has received in recent games
at
Chase Field, I’m not alone in this category. Hell, he’s
been
labeled an “enigma” by the guy who signs the checks.

Considering Upton’s immense talent, his 2012 season, to
this
point, has been a head-scratcher. As I write this, Upton
is
hitting a modest .273 with seven home runs and 36 runs
batted
in. Five Diamondbacks have homered more often through the
season’s first half. Four have driven in more runs.

Right now, Upton is tied for 63rd in the National League
in
home runs and 44th in RBI. On the heels of a very good
2011
campaign during which Upton helped the Diamondbacks win
the
National League West and finished fourth in the league’s
MVP
voting, this year has been an unmitigated disappointment.
There’s no denying that.

Reports
surfaced over the weekend
that the Diamondbacks were
(again) thinking of trading the two-time All-Star. Other
reports indicated that the interest around the majors was
“very high” and that Arizona GM Kevin Towers would
consider
pulling the trigger on a deal even though the team is only
four games out of first place in the NL West at the break.

Upton’s first half struggles make little sense. Trading
him
makes no sense.

Justin Upton is in his sixth big league season. He has
played
660 games. He’s 24 years of age.

Why would you give up on that when it is still so early in his career,
when Upton (as far as we know) likes playing in Arizona,
is
affordable and has worlds of untapped potential that we’ve
seen glimpses of since he came to the bigs as a 19-year-old
in 2007?

To me, it’s just not worth it.

What a difference a year makes. Last year at the All-Star
break, Diamondbacks fans were defending Upton’s honor.
The
Arizona outfielder wasn’t picked by team captain Prince
Fielder to represent the National League in the annual
home
run derby, and Fielder heard about it. The former Brewer
was
booed heartily throughout the All-Star festivities and his
family even had water thrown on them in the name of
“fandom”
by D-backs supporters during an All-Star parade.
Diamondbacks fans were willing to make fools of themselves
in
defending Upton a year ago.

Now, they’re willing to make fools of themselves by booing
a
player who has played through injury and has endured an
average first half of the season.

Maybe this is a motivational ploy by the D-backs’ front
office. Upton was reportedly shopped in the offseason
prior
to the 2011 season and responded with an MVP-caliber year.

In his last three games, Upton is hitting .385 (5-for-13)
with five runs scored, two doubles, two triples and three
runs batted in. Arizona won all three games. Oh, by the
way, those numbers coincide with the trade rumors that
trickled out into the public late Friday afternoon.

Coincidence? Maybe.

But at least for one weekend, we saw Justin Upton play
baseball the way he’s capable of over a three-game
stretch.
Going into the All-Star break, that’s exactly what he and
this team needed.

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