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Diamondbacks still waiting for right deal to materialize

The SportsXchange

The Arizona Diamondbacks did not acquire a starting pitcher or a shortstop at the winter meetings, their stated goals, but it was not for a lack of trying.

General manager Kevin Towers was in meetings with possible trade partners until 6:30 a.m. on the final day of the meetings, but nothing materialized.

"I would say we are marinating right now," Towers said.

Towers said he left Nashville with "more than a couple" of trade proposals waiting for the OK from the other side, and Justin Upton appeared to be at the center of several.

Upton was rumored to be involved in three- and four-team packages with the Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians the others involved. The D-backs targeted Texas shortstops Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus and Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, and those teams also have pitching prospects that could be moved.

"An Upton deal is not going to be a prospect deal. We're not a better ballclub. It would have to be some key major league pieces coming back. If that's not out there, we're fine with Justin, and we'll stay with what we have," Towers said.

With more teams wishing to retain prospects because of both their talent and their cost certainty, Towers said he had the most multi-team trade discussions in his nearly 20 years in the general manager chair, first with the San Diego Padres and now Arizona.

"Had very few just direct one-on-one. A team doesn't have what we are looking for, but another team does. There have been at least three teams involved in every discussion I have had. Sometimes four. Sometimes five," he said.

The D-backs appeared to have even more leverage after the meetings than they had going in, given the fact that free agent outfielders Angel Pagan (four years, $40 million) and Shane Victorino (three years, $39 million) signed contracts in excess of the $38.5 million Upton has remaining in his final three years, making him a bigger bargain. It may help even more that the biggest domino -- Texas free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton -- has yet to fall.

The D-backs still will work the phones while the market plays out, and they will be active. They made their big deal last winter -- acquiring Trevor Cahill in a five-player trade with the Oakland A's -- the day after the meetings ended.

"We may sit and kind of wait. Some of these other free agent signings may change the landscape of how people feel about our players and our trades. That's kind of where we are at," Towers said.
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