Justin Upton was not traded.
Kevin Towers did not ship the right fielder out of town last winter, choosing instead to hold onto the man who has arguably become the team’s most important player.
That doesn’t mean Upton was able to ignore the rumors.
“It was a tough time,” Upton told USA Today. “I didn’t know where I was going.”
Upon learning he would not be moved, Upton made it his goal to prove himself.
“I wasn’t mad about it,” Upton says of the team’s trade talks, “but I came into camp with something to prove. I think I kind of showed them.
“It’s like, ‘You don’t want to get rid of me quite yet.'”
Now firmly entrenched in the Valley, the only place Upton seems to be heading is to the top of the NL MVP short list.
Hitting .296 with 30 home runs, 86 RBI while stealing 21 bases will do that, though being on a first place team doesn’t hurt, either.
“It’s fun just being mentioned as a candidate,” says Upton, who is hitting .299 with 30 homers, 86 RBI and 21 stolen bases. “I’d love to have that award next to my name. But it’s a whole lot easier having a good year when your team is playing well.
“I’m playing to win every day, I’m not worrying about anything else.”