Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton has been the subject of trade speculation for the better part of the last two years, and that's not likely to change as the team heads into an offseason after what was undoubtedly a disappointing 2012 campaign.
It was disappointing for both the team and Upton, and many think a separation may be in the best interest of both parties.
Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick, as a guest of Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo, said that's not exactly the case.
"I wouldn't think necessarily that he is," Kendrick said when asked if Upton is the bargaining chip the team will use to acquire a shortstop or third baseman. "I'm a big Justin guy and I think Justin, even in a down year, has made real significant contributions to this team."
With one game left, Upton is hitting .276 with 17 home runs and 67 RBI, numbers that are below what he produced last season, and well below what many thought he'd put up this year.
Still, he is just 25 years old and is tied for third in baseball -- and first in the National League -- with 107 runs scored, so it's not as if he's had a completely unproductive campaign.
"Here's a guy that even in a down year, he scored more runs than anybody in the National League," Kendrick noted. "He makes our team go, and so I would think it's highly likely we'll see Justin Upton in a Diamondback uniform next year."
That does not mean a deal won't happen, though, and Kendrick said no one should anticipate an announcement saying Upton won't be going anywhere.
After all, he said GM Kevin Towers and the rest of the staff have a responsibility to look at the entire team, evaluate the season, and figure out how to get the D-backs back to the postseason.
"It's Kevin's nature, and I support this very much, that you just flat don't say no, ever, to any opportunity," Kendrick said. "Are we going to go out and 'shop' Justin Upton? I think not."