It appears the on again, off again trade soap opera that was Justin Upton has come to a close. The talented young Diamondbacks outfielder has been traded, in principle, to the Atlanta Braves.
The specifics of the seven player deal include the Diamondbacks sending Upton and Chris Johnson to Atlanta in exchange for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado and prospects Nick Ahmed, Brandon Drury and Zeke Sprull. Of course the ever present physicals are pending which is generally a formality, unless of course you are Mike Napoli.
The Upton trade saga is something I wrote about in an article earlier in January when evaluating possible landing spots for the talented outfielder. I have always believed it was a question of when and not if Upton would be traded. Once Seattle was ruled out, Atlanta was the only place left that had the prospects the Diamondbacks were asking for in return.
It appears there is already excitement in Atlanta when the news got out. Jason Heyward was so happy he couldn’t help but tweet his joy.
— Jason Heyward (@JasonHeyward) January 24, 2013
There is no surprise BJ Upton is also taking to Twitter to let the world know how he feels about his brother and soon to be teammate.
Wow these @jus10up10 rumors have me excited. Please don’t tease me like this… Would be a dream come true if it happens
— BJ Upton (@BJUPTON2) January 23, 2013
Consider this, BJ Upton is going to roam center field in Atlanta and while he hasn’t lived up to all the hype he is only 28 years old. You are guaranteed a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder that will hit 25 home runs and steal over 40 bases. Then on one side, you have a 23 year old Jason Heyward who appeared to figure things out in year three when he was a 20/20 guy. Year four brings great promise for the developing right fielder. Now on the other side, you add a player the caliber of Justin Upton. Are you serious? I guess the rich get richer. Justin Upton is good for a minimum of 20/20 and that is a bad season for the 25 year old. Imagine the numbers he will put up with his mind at ease.
In case you missed it, all three of these guys are in their 20s. Every one of them has a cannon arm. There will be no first-to-third on a single against the Braves this year. You could easily have all three of them in the top-10 in putouts in 2013. This outfield has the potential to be the best in baseball. Remember the knocks against each Upton – they lose focus and that affects their play. Now put them on the same team and it is hard to imagine them not pushing each other. I cannot think of anything better than a sibling rivalry to increase productivity.
One thing lost in this trade is the Braves adding a very serviceable third baseman in Chris Johnson. This comes on the heels of the Chipper Jones retirement. Not only did they create arguably the best outfield in baseball but they found a way to bring in a quality third baseman in Johnson to boot. Well done Atlanta.
Obviously they still have to play the game but on paper this group should be impressive. BJ will push Justin and Justin will push BJ, and then add in a youngster who never wants to be overshadowed by the Upton brothers and you build a young core that will push each other every day. These three could easily play Gold Glove-caliber defense, hit 65+ home runs and steal over 75 bases. Almost any major league team would take that “Core Three” without blinking an eye. Success is never guaranteed, but I wouldn’t bet against this outfield taking the National League by storm.
Breaking down this trade from Atlanta’s perspective, I would give them an A grade. The farm system is still solid, they didn’t deplete the lower levels of development with the deal, both guys they brought in are under 30 and they will start from day one. Johnson will be a solid corner infielder that can go on hot streaks at the plate and Upton will be a perennial All-Star. Justin Upton can finally go to bed tonight without wondering if he will be traded. Now he can finally relax and dream of being part of the best outfield in baseball.
What grade would you give the Atlanta Braves in the Justin Upton trade?
- A (71%, 41 Votes)
- B (19%, 11 Votes)
- C (5%, 3 Votes)
- F (3%, 2 Votes)
- D (2%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 58