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D-backs' price may prolong Upton chatter

D-backs' price may prolong Upton chatter

D-backs' price may prolong Upton chatter
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- It doesn't sound like there's going to be a resolution to the Justin Upton trade saga any time soon.

"I'm in no rush," D-backs GM Kevin Towers said on Thursday. "I can't give you timelines. If somebody decides they want to knock your door down and they really want the player, then they can speed things up. I think it's less likely something happens sooner rather than later, if it happens at all."

Right now, though, Towers has had discussions with his colleagues at the General Managers Meetings, but they've been more of the exploratory type, and nothing has gotten to the serious stage.

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"Our sights are set pretty high on what it would take, and if nobody meets what we're looking for -- and we'd like to address a couple of different areas -- if nobody meets it, then we stay status quo and keep him. We're a good team with him," Towers said.

The D-backs are not interested in receiving prospects in return for Upton, because they believe they can contend in 2013.

That means the team is looking for Major League or at least Major League-ready players. The areas they are looking to improve are shortstop, third base and the starting rotation.

When it comes to the rotation, the D-backs are looking at adding a top-of-the-rotation-type starter in return for Upton.

"What takes your team from a decent team to a really good team is when you go out and acquire a No. 1," Towers said. "I mean an innings eater, a legitimate, established-type starter, and it makes the rest of your rotation that much better. I don't see that happening, even in an Upton deal."

The general consensus among baseball insiders is that the D-backs will in fact trade Upton, but given his age, talent and contract situation, there have been a lot of questions as to why they would.

Some speculate that the D-backs have questions about Upton's character.

"I've had zero issues with his character," Towers said. "This guy comes to play every day. This would not be motivated by lack of character."

Towers was also asked if his motivation for trading Upton had to do with the fact that Upton is set to jump in salary from $9.75 million in 2013 to $14.25 million in '14 and $14.5 million in '15.

"It's not finances," Towers said. "If we end up moving him for a guy that's making comparable dollars or more and it makes us better, we do it. We're not looking just to get the young inexpensive guy."

The D-backs are also not motivated to make a decision quickly on Upton because they don't see themselves as having any glaring holes to fill, so it's not like they need to deal with Upton before addressing other needs.

"Other than a left-hander late in our 'pen, if we had to start the season where we're at right now, I think we're covered," Towers said.

In other words, there is not going to be a quick resolution one way or another, and these rumors could drag through the next month and a half.

"Early in the process, they sit out there and try to get the bargain deal," Towers said of other teams. "And all of a sudden a couple of free agents come off the board and there's more of a need for that player than maybe they're willing to step up what they're willing to give up to acquire the player. I continue to talk to teams and clubs express interest, but it's very early in the process."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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