Why Arizona would deal Justin Upton

Updated: November 21, 2010, 9:41 AM ET
By Keith Law

The Diamondbacks turned the hot stove upside down this week with word that they'd consider trading Justin Upton for the right deal, and I have since spoken with several senior executives from other clubs who indicated that the price is probably high but he is indeed available.

Upton will start 2011 as a 23-year-old and is signed to a deal that owes him $49.5 million for the next five years, with a limited no-trade clause that includes four teams. He was a deserving All-Star in 2009, before tiring badly in September, but lost some power in 2010 and seemed to catch the swing-and-miss malaise that infected the entire Arizona roster (although he improved his walk rate over 2009). He's an above-average defender in right field with a strong arm, and I think it's possible he could return to center field if he's traded, since he was moved to right to accommodate Chris Young and not through any failing of his own.

So why would Arizona GM Kevin Towers want to deal a franchise player who's locked up to a reasonable deal? Let's consider some factors: