- Sports & Recreation
- Justin Upton
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By The Sports Xchange January 11, 2013 5:00 AM
The Mariners continue to push for more offense, but there are times they experience a push back. Seattle made an offer to Arizona for the services of two-time All-Star Justin Upton, but after the Diamondbacks agreed, the veteran outfielder invoked the no-trade clause in contract to shoot the Mariners down. So desperate is Seattle for a middle-of-the-lineup hitter that general manager Jack Zduriencik was willing to give the Diamondbacks a package that included one of his "big three" minor-league starting pitchers, Taijuan Walker, and a top infield prospect, Nick Franklin. There have been protestations from fans around the Pacific Northwest that the Mariners haven't been willing to make the big move to get the club back into competition. This move, presumably, would have done that, because the Mariners were willing to raid their minor-league system -- ranked second in the majors by Baseball America -- to get the deal done. The Diamondbacks were willing, but Upton didn't go for it. His contract allowed him to veto a trade to four teams, one of which was the Mariners. That underscores the issues facing the Mariners. Seattle is farther away from other big-league cities, which doesn't help the Mariners attract talent. That, and the fact that the Mariners are in a 10-year stretch in which they've generally been a second-division team. Upton potentially could have helped to fix that. The two-time All-Star is coming off a subpar season (.280, 17 homers, 67 RBI), but he would have been a major boost for a Seattle offense that ranked last in runs scored and OPS in 2012.