Upton keeping focus on the field
D-backs outfielder isn't concerned with extension talks
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Justin Upton acknowledged on Sunday that his representative has had discussions with the D-backs on a contract extension, but the outfielder said his focus is on getting ready for the season.
"Obviously, they've expressed that they want to do something, and I've said I'm interested, but that's kind of dialogue between my agent and the team," said Upton, who is represented by Larry Reynolds. "The biggest thing for me to get back down here and being with the guys, and whatever happens off the field happens."
D-backs general manager Josh Byrnes said last weekend at the team's FanFest that the organization was looking into extensions for both Upton and third baseman Mark Reynolds.
Upton will be eligible for salary arbitration after the 2010 campaign, but free agency is a ways off, as he remains under the D-backs' control for the next four seasons. In his comments at FanFest, Byrnes indicated that the team could be looking at a six-year deal with Upton.
Of course, given Upton's accomplishments so far at such a young age -- the 22-year-old hit .300 with 30 doubles and 26 homers last year -- that could get very costly.
"I think every team goes through that crossroads," Byrnes said, regarding free agency for a key player. "Now you're hearing Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols. It creates tension in almost any organization because you have to decide. OK, you sign Matt Holliday for $120 million, do you solve a problem or create a problem? And it's not always easy.
"Justin, we've worked very hard on the relationship, he's done his part. What he's done at his age is Hall of Fame caliber, so the relationship is very strong. It's just a matter of putting a business transaction to it. It's a priority; it's never going to be an at-all-cost priority. We have the next four years of Justin Upton. Would we like to say we have six years of Justin Upton? Absolutely, we've just got to work at it a little bit."
And while Byrnes discusses a deal with Larry Reynolds, Upton will focus on playing.
"Whatever happens will happen," he said. "Until you really hammer something out, it's not something you get excited about."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.