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MLB: Thoughts on the Braves – Diamondbacks Trade for Justin Upton

MLB: Thoughts on the Braves – Diamondbacks Trade for Justin Upton

Before I get into what I really think about this trade, let me start by saying I’m a HUGE Braves fan and have loved watching Prado play the past few years. Ok with that said…..

Initially I thought this was a horrible trade for Atlanta. That was just my gut instinct because we were giving up a good young pitcher and Prado who has been so valuable for Atlanta.

However, after really thinking about the deal, I couldn’t be happier as a Braves fan. And if I was a Diamondbacks fan, I’d be really disappointed.

Let’s take a look at what each team gets.

Going to Atlanta

Justin Upton

Easily the centerpiece in the deal, Upton will join his brother in Atlanta. He is a five tool player who has had issues in the past but has shown the ability to be a great player. He will only be 25 this year and has already spent 5+ seasons at the Major League level.

Last season wasn’t a great one for Upton as it was down from what he did in 2011, but he still put up good numbers hitting 17 home runs with a WAR of 2.1.

The previous season, 2011, was Upton’s best so far and shows what could be in the future. He hit 31 home runs, finished 4th in the MVP voting, and had a war of 5.7.

Batting in the middle of the order with Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, and brother B.J. taking some of the pressure off of him to be “the” guy, Justin should be able to settle down and put up good numbers.

His brother should be able to motivate and push him to be a better player, and visa versa.

However, the biggest plus for the Braves is the fact that Upton is controllable for the next three seasons. He’ll make just under $10 million this year and under $15 million the next two seasons. They are getting a young player with almost 6 years of service time and they can control him for 3 years. That’s amazing for Atlanta.

Now to see if he can return to his 2011 form or anywhere near. If he does, the Braves will have robbed the Dbacks blind.

Chris Johnson

The addition of Johnson should not be overlooked either. The Braves are in need of an everyday third baseman with the retirement of Chipper Jones.

Last season the third base duties were shared between Jones (103 games), Francisco (49 games), and Prado (25 games). With Jones and now Prado gone, Francisco will have to fight for playing time with Johnson.

Johnson will provide some right handed power either at third base or off the bench. He hit 15 home runs in 2012 splitting his time between Houston and Arizona.

Going to Arizona

Martin Prado

This is the biggest name going to the Diamondbacks from the Braves, but in the end it might not be the best part of the trade for Arizona. Prado is very versatile having the ability to play just about anywhere on the field. In 2012, he played mostly left field but also filled in all over the diamond playing at shortstop, third base, second base, and first base.

But Prado adds more than just defense. He is a lifetime .295 hitter and in his 4 full seasons playing with Atlanta he hit over .300 three times. He adds a little pop and will give you 10-15 home runs a year. Plus he adds a little speed having stolen 17 bases last year. He is good at the top of the order since he won’t strike out 100 times a year and he will take a walk.

Last season Prado’s WAR was a very nice 5.4, but he is a free agent after this year. He was looking for a contract in the $10 million a year range. So, it will remain to be seen if Arizona can sign him to a long term deal.

Randall Delgado

In the end, Delgado could be the jewel of the trade for Arizona. He is a highly regarded right handed pitcher who will only be 23 this season. He has 24 Major League starts under his belt already with mixed success.

He has struggled with giving up walks at times, but he is young and still learning. Being able to go and pitch everyday at the Major League level will really be beneficial to him since he wasn’t able to break into the Atlanta rotation full time.

He isn’t even arbitration eligible until 2015, so the Diamondbacks have some time to utilize his services at a cheap rate and perhaps if everything works out to sign him to a long term deal.

Nick Ahmed

Ahmed is a highly thought of young shortstop out of the University of Connecticut. He’ll only be 23 this year having played in high A Lynchburg this past season.

Last season he hit .269 and stole 40 bases in his first full season as a professional after being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft.

Zeke Spurill

Spurill is a tall (6’5″) right handed pitcher who spent 2012 at the AA level. Drafted out of high school in 2008, he has shown some success at the minor league. He will pitch the 2013 season at the age of 23, so he has time to grow and learn.

He isn’t touted to be a future ace but he could be a serviceable back of the rotation guy in the future.

Brandon Drury

Another young guy the Dbacks got was Drury who will turn only 20 during the 2013 season. He is a third baseman who spent the 2012 season with A Rome

The trade as it stands right now I feel favors Atlanta. However, the future remains to be seen. Arizona has the potential to make off great in the deal if they are able to sign Prado long term and if Delgado pans out to be a solid early of the rotation type pitcher.

The Braves filled two big needs. One they needed power from the right side which they got in both Johnson and Upton, and they needed another option at third base.

But the big question will be if Upton can right the ship and return to 2011 form. If he can, look out National League. The Braves are putting together quite the outfield and quite the team to compete for another division title and a trip back to the World Series.

About Eric Bynum
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.

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