Diamondbacks to pass on Upton, Gordon?

Jeff · June 5, 2005 at 7:20 pm · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners 

Both Tracy Ringolsby and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jim Salisbury say that the Diamondbacks are likely to take a college pitcher instead of Justin Upton or Alex Gordon. The reasoning goes that the Snakes intend to keep the recently-signed Stephen Drew at shortstop, making another blue-chip young shortstop redundant.

From Ringolsby: [Registration: westsmith1@comcast.net, x223344]

With [Stephen] Drew under contract, however, and new ownership having a valid concern about the lack of depth in the Diamondbacks’ farm system, particularly with pitching, scouting director Mike Rizzo apparently has been directed to pursue a college pitcher.

This is good and bad news for Mariner fans coveting either Upton or Gordon. It’s obviously good if these guys are right, since both project the M’s to take Upton. The flip side is that the Royals are apparently locked in on Gordon, financial worries be damned. If the Diamondbacks do take Upton — which a New York Times article indicates is still a strong possibility — then the M’s would miss out.

I also have to quote this from Ringolsby, just because he calls Bavasi “Billy.”

Upton figures to wind up going No. 3 to Seattle, where current general manager Billy Bavasi and former general manager-turned-special-assistant Pat Gillick long have expressed desires to take high-reward draft choices.

The speculation ends soon enough.


34 Responses to “Diamondbacks to pass on Upton, Gordon?”

  1. The Ancient Mariner on June 5th, 2005 7:32 pm

    On the other hand, BA has a huge picture of Justin Upton with a headline indicating that the D-Backs are going to take him. Ordinarily, I’d say they’d be stupid not to, but given the balance of their system, it might be one of the rare times in baseball when need should actually trump best player available.

    As for that last comment of Ringolsby’s, I thought Gillick’s only expressed desire with draft choices was to give them away for free agents (preferably mediocre ones).

  2. David J Corcoran on June 5th, 2005 7:49 pm

    So Jeff, given the choice of Upton or Tulo, which would you take, assuming you had to take one or the other? I like Tulo because the risk is lower, and he’ll be able to contribute soon, but Upton has the potential to be a superstar.

  3. Trent on June 5th, 2005 7:59 pm

    Be wary of what you read on websites from “sources close to the situation.” They turn out to be wrong more times than they are true (see: Gammons, Peter)

    I ran a post yesterday discussing this very issue, about how the top two picks in the draft earlier in the weeks appeared to be Upton and Gordon, respectively. As of Thursday, the whole thing has become a cluster. The DBacks sent their top organizational scouts to watch Hochevar, Pelfrey and Hansen (who made a rare start) throw on Friday in the NCAA regionals (Hansen and Pelfrey pitched great, Hochevar got roughed up in the seventh after 6 solid innings). Maybe there is some validity to the Drew/Boras client agreement and the DBacks take Pelfrey with this pick.

    I’m also not so sold on what KC is going to do. While they have been telling everyone who will listen that they are not afraid of spending, they were apparently trying to get Cliff Pennington or Cesar Carrillo to sign to a pre-draft deal. They also have some depth at the corner infield positions in the majors and minors and may not want to add another (Butler, Huber, Teahan (whom they love for some odd reason), Sweeney and to a lesser extent Ken Harvey). Plus, Baird has shown a propensity to be highly unpredictable around with the draft. They also have shown an interest in Cameron Maybin. All things being equal and money is not a factor and if Upton falls to them, I think they will take Upton.

    Either way, the draft sure has taken some interesting twists and turns hasn’t it?

  4. Trent on June 5th, 2005 8:00 pm

    DJC – I think you would have to have a screw loose to pass on Upton if he is available.

  5. David J Corcoran on June 5th, 2005 8:06 pm

    Good to hear. I am personally high on Tulo, but Upton is a better player.

  6. Dave on June 5th, 2005 8:08 pm

    From what I’m hearing, this is wrong. Upton to Arizona is more likely than not. And KC, as far as I know, has not settled on Gordon.

  7. MacMariner on June 5th, 2005 8:15 pm

    Can’t wait till Tueday morning. Live draft then down to PGE park to see Doyle and the lads against the Portland Beavers.

    We WILL end up with either Tulowitzki, Gordon or Upton come Tuesday so there is no downside here. Win, win or win. 🙂

    I, for one, will be be more than happy have Tulowitzki in our system.

  8. dw on June 5th, 2005 8:32 pm

    Baseball America was saying Upton to the D-Backs (as of Friday).

    Unless something’s really changed or they found out Upton broke a funny bone working as a drug mule for the Saudis, I don’t see them changing their mind.

  9. David J Corcoran on June 5th, 2005 8:33 pm

    Someone give me Rizzo’s phone number. I’ll change his mind…

  10. David J Corcoran on June 5th, 2005 8:34 pm

    Not to imply that I’m draftable. I’m a coach.

  11. Mr. Egaas on June 5th, 2005 8:39 pm

    If Upton and Gordon go directly before us, are we pretty much locked on Tulowitzki?

  12. dw on June 5th, 2005 8:55 pm

    Everything I’d read says if not Upton or Gordon it’s Tulowitzki. Not a bad thing, though I’d totally love to have a beater like Gordon showing up in Everett next month.

  13. Vaughn Street on June 5th, 2005 9:12 pm

    #7: Just be aware game time Tuesday in Portland is 12:05.

  14. MacMariner on June 5th, 2005 9:43 pm

    #13– Duly noted. I’m hoping the draft is prompt. 🙂

  15. bilbo on June 5th, 2005 10:24 pm

    it would be seattle’s luck to be in a draft that is heavy at the top 2 and pick #3. Normally in baseball this isn’t a problem as the top players tend to slip a few spots due to “signability”, but again it would be Seattle’s luck to not have that happen this year as well. I have gotten on board with the Tulo pick but have been searching frantically for four-leaf clovers!

    Honestly, I can see where Az would take a SP as two different articles I have read quoting Rizzo state that they see Drew as a SS and don’t see moving him and that they see Upton as a SS and wouldn’t move him either. So you have to ask yourself if that is the case, why not go in a different direction?

    As for KC, Maybin makes the most sense since he is the most signable “highest upside” player for them and they could spin it that way (“we didn’t go cheap, he was the highest upside player on the board, blah blah blah”). I know they have stated money won’t be an issue, but come on, its KC!

    Gotta love the draft! We find out for sure Tuesday.

  16. jc on June 5th, 2005 10:58 pm


  17. bilbo on June 5th, 2005 11:15 pm

    God, I love this time of year!

    basically, AZ GM says BA story bubkus at this point…


    and this tidbit from Rizzo:
    “Now, about this year’s draft, we’re still down to Justin Upton and one of the three college pitchers. We’re having some internal discussions about what it means now that Drew is in the fold, and we’re looking at where our depth is and where we may have needs. The decision on the No. 1 pick will be independent of the Drew deal, but we’ll look realistically where our depth is and where we are a little lean, and then we’ll make the pick accordingly. “

  18. J on June 5th, 2005 11:23 pm

    Club sources saying it’s between Jeff Clement, Alex Gordon (duh), John Mayberry Jr (ouch), Troy Tulowitzki, and Mike Pelfry.


    No mention of Maybin, but it implies that Upton would be grabbed if available.

  19. Mords on June 5th, 2005 11:44 pm

    What determines who is an A, B, etc. free agent?

  20. Allen Jacobs on June 6th, 2005 12:55 am

    The Jim Street article on the M’s website would imply Mayberry is getting serious consideration. Given his hitting struggles this year, he should set off alarms. Remember Billy Beane’s hitting challenges that were rationalized away by the scouts?

  21. Mords on June 6th, 2005 1:02 am

    I wouldn’t worry too much about what he says.

  22. JasonAChurchill on June 6th, 2005 6:37 am

    I’m hearing the same thing as you Dave…

    Zona is probably taking Upton and KC isn’t 100% sure what they are doing yet.

    From what I’m being told, most baseball officials around the league are more sure that Upton will go No. 1 then Gordon No. 2 to KC.


  23. Dave on June 6th, 2005 6:51 am

    Yea, right now, nothing is firm. Any report you hear saying that “so and so is taking X” is speculation. Nobody has struck a predraft deal with anyone, which is pretty unusual.

    My gut says the M’s end up with Tulowitzki, but it could very well be Upton or Gordon.

  24. MacMariner on June 6th, 2005 7:09 am

    Tulowitzki hit a nice 3-run HR yesterday as Long Beach were eliminated form the NCAA championship.

  25. MacMariner on June 6th, 2005 7:28 am

    Dave, have you heard anything on who the M’s might be looking at in rounds 4,5 and along?

    Cheers, Stuart

  26. DMZ on June 6th, 2005 7:51 am

    What determines who is an A, B, etc. free agent?

    Elias Sports Bureau.

  27. Chris Begley on June 6th, 2005 8:04 am

    My hope is, whoever the M’s draft will be in Everett’s lineup when they make it up to Vancouver on July 13th ish. No John Mayberry type hold-outs/no signings. Boooo!

  28. msb on June 6th, 2005 11:29 am

    the Az Republic says “The Diamondbacks have the first overall pick in this year’s draft, which begins Tuesday, and have narrowed their choices to Virginia high school shortstop Justin Upton and college pitchers Craig Hansen (St. John’s University), Luke Hochevar (Tennessee) and Mike Pelfrey (Wichita State)” but Mesa’s
    East Valley Tribune has the Dbacks taking Upton as he is likely to be moved to the outfield.

    re: Street? he says if they want a college player and Tulowitzki is gone,’they could opt for … John Mayberry, Jr”. You may also notice he doesn’t even mention Gordon in his piece….

  29. DMZ on June 6th, 2005 11:36 am

    Yeah, but we’ve pretty much dismissed Street’s article at this point.

  30. msb on June 6th, 2005 2:55 pm

    thats what I assumed 🙂

  31. MacMariner on June 6th, 2005 2:55 pm

    The Clement to the M’s rumor just found some traction at Baseball America aswell.

  32. Brett Farve on June 6th, 2005 4:46 pm

    Top catchers drafted by M’s, year (round):

    2004: (4) Rob Johnson
    2003: (9) Justin Ruchti
    2003: (23) Danny Santin (HS, on DC’s Future Forty)
    2002: (14) Theiborth Almanzar … Indy leaguer
    2001: (2) Rene Rivera (HS)
    2000: (14) Manny Crespo … Indy leaguer
    1999: (1) Ryan Christianson (HS)

    Is it time for another catcher? If the M’s were picking a little lower than 3rd I’d say yes. At #3? Hmmm…

  33. Mords on June 7th, 2005 12:02 am

    Me: What determines who is an A, B, etc. free agent?

    DMZ: Elias Sports Bureau.

    Are there guidelines? What factors go into this determination?

  34. The Ancient Mariner on June 7th, 2005 12:09 am

    There’s a rather complicated formula involving the last, I think, three years of performance (with years weighted differently); players are ranked against other players at their position, and the top x% are Type A free agents, the next y% are Type B, the following z% are Type C. Not sure where you could find full information, since I’ve never had reason to look; try Googling it.