Earlier today it was reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Justin Upton of the Arizona Diamondbacks has a partial no-trade clause that theoretically blocks him from being moved to the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees.
As is to be expected, the feces eating monkeys on the branches below Rosenthal (among whom I count myself) were quick to latch on to this point and suggest that the number of teams interested in Upton would now be reduced to 25. However, what they failed to understand was expressed quite well by Rosenthal immediately following the listing of blocked teams.
It’s not known whether Upton would use the no-trade clause to block deals to those clubs. Often, players include high-revenue teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs in no-trade protection, thinking that those organizations are better positioned to offer financial inducements in an effort to convince the player to waive the clause.
Exactly. The inclusion of Boston, Chicago and New York has nothing to do with not wanting to play in those cities, and everything to do with the higher budgets that those teams possess. Simply put, those teams have the money, and are therefore more willing to pay a fee to prompt Upton to waive his no-trade clause. In attaining the clause when he negotiated his contract, Upton essentially set himself up for a secondary bonus if he’s traded.
Presumably, the rules of his contract allow Upton to name four teams at the beginning of each season that have the no-trade clause attached. Considering that the Cleveland Indians were also named in the first season of the deal (along with the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics), when a trade seemed the least likely, it’s quite possible that Upton genuinely doesn’t want to play in upstate Ohio.
Nonetheless, Upton’s availability does make the trade mongering much more interesting than it might have been considering the changes that the new collective bargaining agreement have introduced, which essentially put limits on the benefits enjoyed by teams that might trade for a rental player down the stretch run. As you’ll recall, in the past a player in the last year of his contract could be moved with the receiving team enjoying the benefit of compensation draft picks if the player signed elsewhere after the season. That’s no longer the case, as players must play the previous season in its entirety with a single club for them to reap compensatory rewards.
Despite rumours over the weekend tying him to the Pittsburgh Pirates, my money remains on the Arizona Diamondbacks to land Upton, as they could probably use him more than any other team.