J-Up, Up, and Away
Paulie Pine Tar presumes that the AZ Diamondbacks have ordered a new banner for right field. Soon, the marketing mantra will transition from "UpTown" to the more accurate "Out of Town" …right?
I mean, how else are we supposed to forecast the fate of a (soon-to-be former) franchise player who's in more rumors than Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan -- combined.
"The reason he's being talked about, in part, is because of how much of a talent he is," Kirk Gibson explained at baseball's winter meetings.
Of course, #GibbyBall is talking about the man with mondo skills -- Justin Upton. And the D-backs manager says he knows what he's talking about because he's been there and heard that during his own playing days.
"I played with the same rumors, okay? I got booed," Gibson said. "I did all that. It's just part of it. I don't look at it as anything is tough, it's just part of it."
Maybe the best advice for Upton's sanity would be to emulate his skipper in one other area -- stay off social media. For instance, the following tweet came out Tuesday afternoon via ESPN MLB reporter Pedro Gomez:
Phillies and Diamondbacks are discussing Justin Upton for Cliff Lee. Money coming to AZ would also be involved.
Thing is, before we could even debate the value of trading for the 34-year-old Lee in the midst of a five-year, $120 million contract, it got cut down faster than an overweight catcher trying to steal second base.
"We typically do not comment on rumors," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said on MLB Network. "But that's one I'll comment on -- that's absolutely false."
Considering that Gibson also blew the report out of the D-backs right field pool water, the rumor du jour just suffered a fatal cease and desist, right? Wrong.
Less than a couple hours later, another round of reports emerged. This time, according to Yahoo Sports, the Upton-Lee swap "could just be a start..(as) Arizona is discussing all sorts of three-and-four-way deals to get a shortstop."
Simultaneously, Gibson made it known that his preference would be that any deal does not include Upton.
"I want Justin on my team. I know he's going to have a bounce-back great year. He's going to be re-energized," Gibson said. "He's going to be healthy and I expect big things out of him. I mean, he's a huge impact player."
Okay, so we either have an XL rift between the D-backs dugout and the front office. Or…perhaps we have a concerted effort to run the hot stove version of the good cop, bad cop negotiating scheme to pump up the value of a 25-year-old former All-Star. Which is it?
And one other question: if Upton still stands as a "huge impact player," then why doesn't the "D" in D-back stand for develop? Has the team failed to properly develop a former #1 overall pick?
Because, right now, we don't know who the D-backs are getting. But, based on years of persistent trade talks, we definitely know who's going. Call him J-Up, up and away.