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How about an Upton-Upton-Heyward outfield in Atlanta?

Nov 25, 2012, 6:28 PM EDT

Justin Upton AP

We know the Braves are in hot pursuit of free agent B.J. Upton, who could well be the next top free agent to sign. It makes one wonder if they’d considering pairing the Upton brothers and bringing in Justin from Arizona.

On the surface, it seems like a great idea. Neither Upton brother has quite fulfilled his potential, but the two happen to be pretty competitive with one another; putting them in the same lineup would be quite the motivational tactic.

And the Braves have the artillery to get a deal done. The Rangers tried earlier this month to trade for Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons, strictly for the purposes of using him in an Upton deal.  The slick-fielding Simmons, who should begin contending for Gold Gloves as soon as 2013, hit .289/.335/.416 in 166 at-bats as a 22-year-old rookie last season. The Diamondbacks might initially ask for a pitching prospect along with Simmons, but I think they’d make the trade straight up if it was offered.

That would leave the Braves with a lineup of:

3B Martin Prado
CF B.J. Upton
RF Jason Heyward
LF Justin Upton
1B Freddie Freeman
2B Dan Uggla
C Brian McCann/Gerald Laird
SS Paul Janish/Tyler Pastornicky

Not bad, right? It currently looks like McCann will miss the first month or two after shoulder surgery, but even minus his bat, that’s still a really nice lineup.

Of course, acquiring such an outfield would have huge payroll implications. B.J. Upton figures to command about $15 million per year as a free agent. Justin will make $9.75 million next year, $14.25 million in 2014 and $14.5 million in 2015 under the terms of his deal. Even if B.J.’s deal would be backloaded a bit, it’d probably mean taking on $22 million for 2013 and $28 million for 2014. Plus, the player getting subtracted, Simmons, will make the minimum for the next three years.

So, no, the whole scenario isn’t at all likely to materialize. However, the Braves do have the ability to make it happen if they want to. If money is tight, they could easily lop an additional $6.5 million off the payroll by trading Paul Maholm (they’d still have a rotation of Tim Hudson, Kris Medlen, Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor and Randall Delgado, with Brandon Beachy hopefully returning at midseason). If only Liberty Media weren’t so stingy with the payroll, these are the kinds of splashes the Braves could be making every offseason.

  1. dondada10 - Nov 25, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    No way the D-Backs would do Simmons for Upton swap straight-up.

    • ireportyoudecide - Nov 25, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      Which is why all this Upton trade talk is pointless. For some reason the Diamondbacks want everyone to know, including Upton that he is available. Yet they are seeking value like he is a top 5 player. It would be like the Mariners saying yep Felix Hernandez is available, but then only willing to trade him for Trout, Cabrera, or Braun. The Diamondbacks just look stupid and that’s not how you treat your best player.

      • dondada10 - Nov 25, 2012 at 7:01 PM

        I think there’s a happy medium. For example, a package starting with Simmons. I’m just saying that a 1 for 1 swap isn’t going to do.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Nov 25, 2012 at 7:36 PM

      Simmons is an extremely valuable property. The bat is still in question, but I think he’ll be firmly established as the game’s best defensive shortstop in a couple of years. If he’s a legit .280-.300 hitter too, that’s a terrific player. And if not, he’s still a quality regular at a bargain price.

      • dondada10 - Nov 25, 2012 at 7:43 PM

        I definitely agree that he’s valuable. He’s just not as valuable as the remaining years on Justin Upton’s contract. Especially if he’s merely a quality regular. Now if the Braves were to add to a package starting with Simmons, then perhaps the D-Backs would listen.

      • weaselpuppy - Nov 25, 2012 at 11:20 PM

        so mayyybe he becomes Alcides Escobar…..I don’t see the Snakes banging down Drayton Moore’s door trying to flip Upton for him….while we’re at it chasing the dragon, how about postulating that the Bravos are thinking of flipping Heyward for Zach Cosart….

  2. proudlycanadian - Nov 25, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    It is a slow news week, so why not dream big. That scenario is more exciting than any presented by the usual cabal of rumor mongers.

  3. lroc20 - Nov 25, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Nothing better to do I see, sometimes not writing anything is better than putting your fantasy on paper

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Nov 25, 2012 at 11:28 PM

      “Not writing anything” might be pretty good advice for some commenters, as well.

  4. bobulated - Nov 25, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    You’ve also forgotten that Pastornicky is a truly awful SS while Janish is just a glove.

  5. ncphilliesguy - Nov 25, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    This post makes no sense and you look like you don’t know what you are talking about. Please put on a pot of coffee and sober up.

  6. beelza - Nov 25, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    BJ Upton is going to detroit. Detroit is sending garcia, castellanos, and peralta to Arizona. This would explain Arizona shopping Upton, they want a SS.

    • adcoop22 - Nov 25, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      Why is AZ getting these players from Detroit if BJ is going? You do know it is Justin in Phoenix, right? And I hope that KT is smart enough to not bring in trash for a great player.

    • beelza - Nov 25, 2012 at 11:11 PM

      This guy is obviously drunk, an idiot, a drunk idiotic Tigers slappy and his words ough not be trusted, let-a-lone published. He MEANT to say JUSTIN Upton, not BJ. The people they let in this joint, Jeez!

  7. crisisjunky - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    Apparently the cabal is now giving the Braves the edge in the B.J. sweepstakes, but I don’t buy any of this Justin for Simmons chatter. Atl. just filled their SS issue, and now they create a new one?
    Secondly, why would the snakes use this huge trade chip to commit to a young, and presumably long term SS, when they have Chris Owings ready to impact no later than ’14?
    Not to mention AZ. has more starting pitching coming than ever, and now Chase Anderson on the heels of Bauer, Skaggs, Bradley…. I could see bull-pen help from the Bravos……

    • crisisjunky - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:31 AM

      the cabal being Jim Bowden that is……..

  8. chaseutley - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Why not trade Jason Heyward for Kate Upton while your at it? I’d pitch to her underhanded just so I could watch her run.

    • crisisjunky - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:16 PM


  9. yahmule - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    If you think the DBacks are killing JUpton’s value by shopping him for the last six months, wait until he has another disappointing season next year. Of course, his legion of HT apologists will decide it will because AZ made him feel unwanted, which is the main problem with this pampered prima donna. His mental toughness is severely lacking, thus his inability to produce unless he’s 100% healthy.

  10. ame123 - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Braves fanboy wetdream. Aint gonna happen, a slap hitting SS isnt going to land a potential MVP caliber player. PS, might want to slow down with the whole ‘Braves have the artillery to get it done’. Newsflash: Well is running dry, no impact prospects left on the farm, especially position players.

  11. Carl Hancock - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    BJ would likely take less money if he had a chance to play with his brother. Not significantly less mind you, buy still less than market. They’re from my area and i know hey’ve always wanted to play on the same team.

  12. vincerc2cs - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Upton, Upton, and Heyward… Seriously! It would be the Nats and the Braves for the NL East.

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