By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
7:00 AM EST, January 8, 2013
The Orioles have shown interest in young slugging outfielder Justin Upton, whom the Arizona Diamondbacks appear willing to move, but like most of the Orioles’ trade discussions this offseason, the organization seems very unwilling to make a deal that would include any of its top young players.
Upton, who will make $9.75 million in the fourth year of a six-year, $51.25-million deal that runs through 2015, is just 25 himself. The Diamondbacks reportedly are open to moving either Upton or outfielder Jason Kubel, whom the Orioles have also shown interest in, but Upton is vastly more attractive on the trade market because of his age and having him under team control for the next three seasons.
However, according to one industry source, trade talks between the teams diminished because the Diamondbacks coveted a deal that began with either third baseman Manny Machado, right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy or right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman. While the Orioles have been open to trade talk this offseason, they’ve been unwilling to entertain the idea of dealing any of their top three prospects.
Upton would provide the power bat the Orioles desire for the middle of their lineup. He’s recorded a .278/.357/.475 line over a six-year career and averaged nearly 23 homers the past four seasons. He’s also averaged 19.8 stolen bases in the past four years.
-- Also, don’t expect an announcement regarding a contract extension for Orioles manager Buck Showalter over the next few days. There’s no setback in negotiations, but both sides have busy schedules coming up. Showalter was back in Baltimore this weekend to speak with managing partner Peter Angelos, but he’s leaving for his home in Texas on Tuesday night. He will return next week for the team’s pitchers “mini-camp” prior to FanFest on Jan. 19.
-- Speaking of the team’s mini-camp, about 15-20 pitchers are expected to attend the voluntary camp next Wednesday through Friday, made up mostly of the organization’s younger pitchers. Under union rules, arbitration-eligible players can not attend.
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