Justin Upton is being heavily pursued by the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE)

MLB Trade Rumors: Pittsburgh Pursuing Justin Upton


According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Pittsburgh Pirates are serious bidders for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton.  In fact, Stark says the Pirates may be willing to send Starling Marte to Arizona in the deal.  The Diamondbacks are falling out of contention and Upton has struggled so far this season.  However, Upton’s struggles have not yet scared off suitors.

The Diamondbacks are 6.5 games behind the Giants in the National League West.  They’re four games under

.500 and have yet to be able to put together a sustained run.  Upton is currently hitting .264/.347/.388.

Very few in the league would question Upton’s pure talent and his potential.  What the Diamondbacks have to consider though is what they could get in return as it stands now verse the potential of a continued decline for Upton.  He’s only 24 years old and has a lot of time to get back on track.  And the truth is, Upton was legitimately in the National League MVP talks last season for a while.  This year could be an anomaly – it’s just his first since his rookie year with an OPS under .799.  But it could also be the start to a downward trend.  This is what Diamondbacks’ GM Kevin Towers has to weigh.

The Pirates on the other hand are looking for a bat.  They are one game behind the Red for first place in the National League Central and are 10 games over .500.  Pittsburgh is looking to do everything it takes to avoid the nasty backslide they saw happen last season.  The 2011 Pirates had a similar magical run through the first half of summer.  However, the second half was far less kind.  By season’s end, the Pirates were 20 games under .500.

Justin Upton’s power, his skill in right, and his youth would make him a prime target for the Pirates.  Interestingly though, the Pirates would not be taking him on as a rental to make the final push into the postseason.  Upton is signed to a 6-year, $50 million deal.  He has three years left on that deal and will make $9.75 million next year.

If the Pirates were to give up Sterling Marte in a deal, they’d be parting with the 73rd ranked prospect in baseball according to Baseball America.  He’s only 23 and is near Major League-ready.  He’s currently hitting .286/.349/.490 at Triple-A Indianapolis.

For more on the Pirates, be sure to check out Rum Bunter

For more on the Diamondbacks, be sure to check out Venom Strikes

Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks Justin Upton Pittsburgh Pirates

  • DavidCole

    Starling Marte’ could be just as good if not better than Justin Upton. If you look at Upton’s career numbers they aren’t “superstar” caliber, so why should he be treated like one? One of the knocks on him is his effort, same reason Tabata who was demoted to AAA. Marte’ is on the rise and he is already an elite defensive outfielder with gap power and good footspeed. The guy is a doubles & triples machine w/ enough power to hit 25+ homers a yr. I would just give Marte’ the call & keep it in the family. We don’t need an outside player comin’ in here and messin’ up the chemistry. Especially one who has an attitude problem. Let’s keep our farm grown talent & build from within.

  • DavidCole

    Starling Marte’ could be just as good if not better than Justin Upton. If you look at Upton’s career numbers they aren’t “superstar” caliber, so why should he be treated like one? One of the knocks on him is his effort, same reason Tabata was demoted to AAA. Marte’ is on the rise and he is already an elite defensive outfielder with gap power and good footspeed. The guy is a doubles & triples machine w/ enough power to hit 25+ homers a yr. I would just give Marte’ the call & keep it in the family. We don’t need an outside player comin’ in here and messin’ up the chemistry. Especially one who has an attitude problem. Let’s keep our farm grown talent & build from within.

  • The5_5Hole

     @DavidCole I think you have a point.  The problem is, not everyone in Pittsburgh is thinking that way.  Here’s what I see: the city has seen the so-called home-grown movement fail over and over again.  They came close to putting together something magical, but flopped in the second half.  Ownership doesn’t want that.  The fans don’t want that.  While I agree this team is in a position to continue to compete and with their farm system, they can compete for a long time, I think they will pull the trigger on a big move like this.