When the Arizona Diamondbacks traded Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves on January 24, they not only parted with the face of the franchise, but put a rest to years of speculation.
Upton had been rumored to be on the trade block for the better part of three years, and even before the deal with Atlanta it had been reported that the Diamondbacks had come to an agreement with the Seattle Mariners on a trade involving the right fielder.
As it turns out, that was not the only time the D-backs nearly traded the former number one pick.
“Of course he nixed that,” D-backs GM Kevin Towers told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo of the Mariners trade. “Then I would say even before that we came very close with a three-way deal with Texas and Tampa in the wintertime that didn’t end up happening, but it came close.”
The Rangers had long been linked to Upton, as they had a need for a right-handed power bat and a surplus of intriguing prospects including shortstop Jurickson Profar. But the only deals that were ever agreed on were with Seattle and Atlanta, and some believe the trade with the Mariners would have benefited Arizona more than the one they made with the Braves.
But the D-backs knew Upton could block a trade to the Mariners, but Towers said the two ball clubs decided to “cross that bridge when we get there.”
“It happened to be that we felt, for the first time in two-and-a-half years, the best deal was Seattle,” Towers said.
The deal was reported to be relievers Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor along with minor-league shortstop Nick Franklin and top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker. But alas, the D-backs settled on a package that included infielder Martin Prado, shortstop Nick Ahmed, first baseman Brandon Drury and pitchers Randall Delgado and Zeke Spruill.