Arizona Diamondbacks Do Not Need to Trade Outfielder Justin Upton

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks headed into the 2012 MLB winter meetings last week determined to trade right fielder Justin Upton in order to improve the team and shed his big contract. However, after the mega-trade that went down Wednesday involving nine players, the Diamondbacks are a better team with Upton.

Arizona’s No. 1 concern this off-season was to acquire a talented shortstop that would be with the team for a long time. The entire purpose of putting Upton on the market was to obtain a young infielder and hopefully get some other talent along with him.

The Diamondbacks parted ways with right-handers Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw. In exchange, they received shortstop Didi Gregorius from the Cincinnati Reds, as well as, left-handed reliever Tony Sipp and first baseman Lars Anderson from the Cleveland Indians.

Bauer is the biggest loss for Arizona as the top prospect has shown plenty of potential. In four starts with the Diamondbacks this past season he went 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA and 17 strikeouts. However, he tore it up in the minors going 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA and 107 strikeouts in Double-A and Triple-A. Another big loss is Albers who went 3-1 out of the bullpen with a 2.39 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 63 appearances. Reliever Shaw also pitched well in his second season as he posted a 3.49 ERA, 41 strikeouts and 10 holds in 64 appearances.

However, to the Diamondbacks losing those three players was worth it because they acquired the talented and Major League-ready Gregorius. The 22-year-old batted .300 with two RBIs in 20 plate appearances with the Reds this past season. The Amsterdam native posted a .265 batting average with seven home runs, 54 RBIs, 21 doubles and seven triples in 561 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A.

The lefty batter can play all four infield positions but shortstop is clearly what he prefers. He posted a .980 fielding percentage at the position in Triple-A while he committed only four errors in 201 total chances. In 18 total chances in the majors, Gregorius had a perfect fielding percentage combined with eight putouts and 10 assists.

There is still a good chance the Diamondbacks will part ways with an outfielder considering they have an abundance of talent at the position, but do not expect that person to be Upton. Even though Jason Kubel had the overall better numbers and will not cost as much as Upton, he is the one who is now appearing in trade rumors.

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