With Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings going on in Nashville this week, rumors are flying fast and furious about Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton.
That's nothing new, really. Upton has been the subject of such speculation for the better part of three years.
But one rumor presented by ESPN's Pedro Gomez really got the twitter world buzzing.
Phillies and Diamondbacks are discussing Justin Upton for Cliff Lee. Money coming to AZ would also be involved.— Pedro Gomez (@pedrogomezESPN) December 4, 2012
Kirk Gibson, the freshly-shaven manager of the D-backs, is in Nashville and joined Doug & Wolf on Arizona Sports 620 Tuesday to talk about the Upton rumors. Let's just say there was a good amount of debunking going on.
"That's not gonna happen," Gibson said about the rumored deal that would send the two-time All-Star to Philadelphia. "It's a great event right here, everybody in the baseball community is in one area. Lots of conversations go on, people speculate about what might happen, but I heard that one and I just said 'it's not gonna happen' and if it is, I certainly didn't know about it."
Upton had a down year in many statistical categories in 2012. His home run total fell 14 from the previous season and he had 19 fewer RBI than 2011, when he finished fourth in the National League Most Valuable Player voting. But he did lead the Diamondbacks and finished tied for second in the NL with 107 runs scored.
Gibson says all the trade talk around Upton makes sense.
"I understand why everybody wants him, I really do," he said. "I think we all do in Arizona. I've been very consistent with my comments on J-Up. We're happy to have him on our team, he's a huge talent and a big impact player and certainly we need him if we think we have a chance to win the West next year."
But three years of trade rumors would have to affect a player, right? How long can any one player hear his name bandied about before it sinks in that his employer doesn't want him anymore. It is a fair question to ask in the case of Upton, but Gibson isn't concerned.
"Justin is tough. He was a great teammate last year," Gibson said. "He'll be recharged, refreshed. I expect a huge year out of him this year and so do his teammates.
"We look forward to him being a great influence on what happens to us for this upcoming season."