Towers not just listening this time around - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Ahwatukee Sports

Towers not just listening this time around

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Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:00 pm | Updated: 2:43 pm, Thu Oct 4, 2012.

For the second time since the end of 2010 World Series, Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has talked openly about listening to trade offers for Justin Upton.

Care to take a guess as to how this going end?

I will - Upton is going to be traded.

All of the national baseball writers are saying just that so I am not going out on a limb by any means and nor do I have sources like they do.

But I do have one semester of psychology so clearly I know everything there is to know about human behavior and Towers is bound and determined to move his enigma (D-backs owner Ken Kendrick’s word, not mine) of a right fielder.

Or he is doing his best to motivate the 24-year-old Upton, a former first-overall pick, into one heck of a second half.

It worked the last time – talking about listening to offers for Upton in November of 2010 – as Upton returned in 2011 to have his best overall season that led to him finishing fourth in the National League MVP voting.

Something feels different this time. My gut says Towers is doing more than listening this time. The first time around, he had only seen Upton on daily basis for a short time. That’s not the case anymore and it seems Towers is unsure if Upton is ever going to fully reach his potential.

Back when Towers was in his first offseason, he knew the team needed some help and owed it to himself to see who would come calling for Upton.

I don’t think he ever really considered it, but what it probably did was set a baseline as to what the rest of baseball thought of Upton.

And now he can use that barometer to get what he wants in return this time around if it comes to that.

As anyone who follows the Diamondbacks knows, the biggest needs right now is third base with shortstop needing to be addressed in 2013 with Stephen Drew considered all but gone as a free agent already.

The Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates are said to be the most interested in Upton so the Rangers make the most sense with third base prospect Mike Olt a good starting point.

Olt, who led all Double-A players with 10 home runs and a 1.175 OPS during the month of June, while finishing tied for the third-most RBI, was hitting .289 with 22 home runs and 63 RBIs with a .402 on-base percentage and .970 OPS at the start of the week.

The 23-year-old is blocked at third base by All-Star Adrian Beltre, 33, who is signed through at least 2015 with 2016 voidable based on plate appearances.

The Rangers have lost in the World Series two years in a row and general manager Jon Daniels will have a sense of urgency to keep that from happening again.

It could make Daniels a little antsy and more willing to take a hit in the long run for the big move now.

It’s exactly the type of situation Towers loves to take advantage of and don’t be surprised if it happens in the coming weeks.

 

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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