No-trade clauses are often nothing more than a negotiating ploy. If the player has a no-trade clause for a team that's trying to trade for him, he can refuse to go until that team bends to his demands, be it in terms of a raise, a long-term contract, or a bowl of red skittles in his locker refreshed before every game. Whatever that player wants, that player gets, or he stays right where he is.
So, when you hear that Justin Upton had the Red Sox on his no-trade list and would not have approved a trade to Boston, you might be thinking that's so much bluster. Upton, however, would have you believe otherwise. Per Bob Nightengale:
Upton reiterated this week that the Diamondbacks were wasting their time talking to the four teams on his recently submitted no-trade list. He was not willing to play for Seattle, the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox or Chicago Cubs. The Diamondbacks believed the list was a negotiating ploy, but Upton told them it wasn't about the money. He did not want to play for those franchises.
There's at least one good reason to believe him, too: he refused to be traded to the Mariners. It's possible some information has been hushed up about the Mariners not meeting contract demands, but it's hard to imagine that's the case given how desperate the Mariners have been to add someone--anyone--to the team.
The other reason is that these four clubs aren't the obvious choices to name if only considering holding out for a bigger contract. If that were Upton's aim, one has to imagine that the likes of the Yankees would factor heavily in, rather than the Blue Jays.
So what's the reason for naming these four clubs? Well, it's not competitive. While none of them were very good last year, you don't include the Red Sox on a list of clubs to avoid for fear of not contending. More likely this is geographic in nature. All four teams are about as far north as you can get. Arizona and Atlanta, on the other hand, are about as far south as you can get. Born and raised in southeast Virginia, Upton is used to average lows ten-to-fifteen degrees higher than Boston's.
Whether the Red Sox would've been terribly interested in Upton is another story. We know they were a while back, but with Upton's cost-controlled years coming to an end soon, he wouldn't really have lined up all that well with Boston's goals. So in the end, all the frigid Boston weather has cost any of us is a few fingers to frostbite.
At least in the last few days.