Plenty of Major League Baseball teams may be deluding themselves into thinking that an extra wild-card berth this fall means they should hang on to key players for a second-half push despite playing mediocre ball so far.
But the Arizona Diamondbacks, 42-46 going into Monday's game and far from the form that sent them to a division title last year, seem to be more realistic.
With the losses piling up, the Diamondbacks appear ready to deal Justin Upton, a two-time All-Star who has played all of his six pro seasons with Arizona.
Upton, 24, is under contract with the Diamondbacks until 2015, but some think the local fan base has grown tired of him. And with a glut of teams in both leagues within reach of the extra wild card, he's been named among the players who could be moving before the trade deadline.
But fans of some big-spending clubs shouldn't be expecting the outfielder to come their way. Upton's contract allows him to block trades to the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs and Indians, according to FOX Sports.
Upton's no-trade clause really shouldn't be a concern to Arizona if the club wants to move him, though. For one, the last thing the Red Sox (45-44) need is more outfielders — they're more likely to shed a few of the guys who have stepped up with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford out. The Yankees (54-34) have said that they don't think they'll be active at the trade deadline, and the Cubs (36-52) are counting the years, not days, until they can make a serious playoff push.
The Yankees-Red Sox-Cubs trifecta is also the money-raking trio of MLB, meaning those teams are more likely on the list because of the cash they could provide if Upton waived the clause rather than him not preferring the teams.
So, if the Diamondbacks are set on unloading Upton, it appears they have a clear path to send him wherever they'd like.