Trade rumors are swirling around Justin Upton and his agent, Larry Reynolds, is upset about what he feels are anonymous attacks being made against the Diamondbacks outfielder through the media.
Reynolds told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that trade rumors “are part of the business” and something Upton understands, but “what I don’t like are the comments and innuendos made about Justin’s work ethic and character, especially from those gutless people that don’t want to put their name by a quote.”
He’s certainly got a point, as numerous reporters both local and national have taken to quoting unnamed sources offering their opinions on Upton and most of those opinions are negative while often focusing on something other than his on-field production.
One prominent example was Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com writing recently that “team officials are not convinced that Upton is a winning player” and that’s probably one of the tamer things being said. To which Reynolds insists:
This young man is one of the hardest workers I’ve been around and more importantly, he’s a good person. If they want to trade him, that’s their business, just knock off the unfounded, negative rhetoric.
Of course, it’s worth noting that while the media has passed along the negative comments about Upton from unnamed sources Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick was very open about criticizing Upton (and shortstop Stephen Drew) last month. It also doesn’t help matters that general manager Kevin Towers has been so open about his willingness to trade Upton, which naturally has people speculating about why he’d want to part with a 24-year-old two-time All-Star who hit 31 homers and stole 21 bases last season.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.