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D-backs still listening to offers for outfielders

GM Towers won't move player without getting 'right deal' in return

D-backs still listening to offers for outfielders
PHOENIX -- Kevin Towers' phone has been busy of late, but so far the D-backs general manager has not heard an offer that would prompt him to deal one of his surplus outfielders.

The surprise signing of free agent Cody Ross last month added to an outfield that already included Justin Upton, Gerardo Parra, Jason Kubel and rookie Adam Eaton.

"Always fielding phone calls, always having discussions," Towers said. "Still getting lots of hits on our outfielders. I think once we signed Cody, those people who were still looking for offense started ringing my phone. We're in a position where unless it's the right deal, we don't have to move any of our outfielders."

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It seemed after the D-backs acquired Didi Gregorius, who they feel is their shortstop of the future, Upton would likely be back despite having his name in trade talks since last July's Trade Deadline.

However, the rumors still persist.

"It makes no sense to even respond to that," Towers said when asked about the Upton rumors. "I've had the same position from day one. It's not that we're shopping, but if people call and ask about him, we listen."

While Kubel is still the most likely to be dealt, it's possible the club could trade Upton if it gets a big enough return. Initially that seemed to mean a shortstop, but now with Gregorius in the fold, it would likely involve a third baseman and pitching.

If none of the outfielders are dealt, that would mean Eaton would probably return to Triple-A.

"That's not in a perfect world what we want to have happen," Towers said. "But we're not going to move an outfielder in a lousy deal just to move an outfielder."

As to why the D-backs would sign Ross given their depth in the outfield, Towers said that the organization felt Ross was a player they did not want to pass up.

"He's a guy that we felt fit well with us short term and long term, and now we're in more of a leveraged position with our outfielders where we can sit and wait for the right deal to come to us," Towers said. "If it doesn't, then we send Adam back to Triple-A and go with Parra and Ross in center and keep Upton and Kubel on the corners. If something presents itself that we think is the right deal, then we go ahead and do it and we've got protection because we've gotten Ross."

Towers has also spent time recently dealing with the club's arbitration-eligible players. Pitchers Ian Kennedy, Tony Sipp and Brad Ziegler along with third baseman Chris Johnson, shortstop Cliff Pennington and Parra are all eligible for arbitration.

Teams and players submit arbitration salary figures on Jan. 18.

"We've had some discussions with some of our guys to get an idea of where they're at," Towers said. "Those things usually come down to the wire."

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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