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Trade interest in D-backs’ Justin Upton gaining steam

Rumors surrounding the availability of Arizona
Diamondbacks right fielder
Justin Upton continue to gain steam Sunday.

According to Jon Morosi of,
the NL
Central Pittsburgh Pirates reportedly have interest in the
D-backs slugger.

Major-league sources told the Pirates have
had preliminary
trade discussions regarding two power-hitting outfielders,
San Diego’s
Carlos Quentin and Arizona’s Justin Upton.

Upton, who finished fourth in the MVP voting in 2011, has
struggled to
build upon the success he enjoyed last season and has
failed to meet club
officials’ lofty expectations so far this season. However,
Upton remains
highly regarded around the majors despite falling out of
favor with the
Diamondbacks’ brass of late.

Upton’s relationship with the Arizona franchise has soured
recently amid
criticism from owner Ken Kendrick, but he’s highly
regarded within the
industry. A change of scenery may be the best thing for
Upton. If he lands
in Pittsburgh, he would combine with McCutchen to give the
Pirates their
best collection of star talent since the departure of

If the D-backs decide to seriously entertain offers for
Upton, they will have
no shortage of suitors. In fact, the 24-year-old
outfielder’s services are so
highly coveted, teams are already believed to have
expressed a strong level
of interest in obtaining the talented slugger.

Baseball Insider Jon Heyman of
the D-backs will only listen to offers that
will net a huge

The Diamondbacks, who are on the cusp of the race in the
NL West, don’t
have to trade Upton and are said only interested in making
a “perfect” deal.
But it was recently reported by the team
might entertain

Upton’s no-trade list reportedly has changed from the last
time the D-
backs considered dealing him.

Sources say Upton’s limited no-trade list isn’t the same
as the last time the
Diamondbacks entertained trade requests a year and a half
ago. It was
reported at the time that his four-team list of teams he
could veto a trade
to consisted of the Tigers, Indians, A’s and Royals.
Detroit is one team that
would have the interest and wherewithal to do a deal.

The defending NL West Champions are four games out of
first in the
division entering the All-Star break. It remains a long
shot the
Diamondbacks will deal Upton while still involved in a
playoff race.

Upton is hitting .273 with seven home runs and 37 RBI and
is in the midst
of a six-year, $51.25-million contract that runs through