Justin Upton's career in Arizona has been peppered with wild speculations. Early indications had Upton as a future MVP candidate, while more recently the outfielder has been included in trade discussions. A possible franchise-altering trade for Cliff Lee was rumored earlier today, but those whispers have been silenced by Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro. According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Amaro called rumors of the trade false.
Early reports by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports and Pedro Gomez of ESPN had the deal heating up, with cash considerations coming the Diamondbacks way to make up for the disparities in salaries between the two players. Upton is locked up for three years at $38 million, while Lee is at least $85 million over the next four years.
Upton's time with the Diamondbacks has been marred by inconsistency. Looking at the last two seasons alone, the 25-year-old has finished fourth in the MVP voting and as the fifth best hitter on his team. Despite his lack of 2012 production, Upton is a young player with a high ceiling who could command a player like Lee in return.
Cliff Lee is coming off his worst season since 2007, but that isn't saying much for the 34-year-old right-hander. He posted a 3.16 ERA over 211 innings for the Phillies in 2012, who failed to make the playoffs for non-Cliff Lee reasons. Had he been traded, the Diamondbacks would have been Lee's fifth team since 2008.