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The Justin Upton trade: The Braves get their man, the Diamondbacks do better than expected

Jan 24, 2013, 10:50 AM EDT

Justin Upton AP AP

Justin Upton was being dangled by the Diamondbacks forever, but he’s finally out the door. It’s a five-for-two deal:

For all the talk that the Diamondbacks’ leverage was gone when Upton blocked the proposed trade to the Mariners, Kevin Towers did pretty well in this deal.  In Prado he gets a solid starting third baseman who can play second and left field as well. They also get a guy who is coming off  a year in which he hit .301/.359/.438 with 10 homers and 70 RBI. And it wasn’t an outlier kind of year for him.

Delgado, who turns 23 in a couple of weeks, wasn’t spectacular in his 18 appearances for the Braves last season (4-9, 4.37 ERA 76 Ks and 42 BB in 92.2 IP), but he remains a solid pitching prospect who has stuck out 9.6 batters per nine innings in six minor league seasons. Spruill is a year and a half older and hasn’t hit the bigs yet. The Braves likely didn’t have him penciled in to their rotation any time soon. He doesn’t strike out a ton of guys but doesn’t walk many either. Ahmed, a second rounder in 2011 out of the University of Connecticut, hasn’t been above A-ball yet. He has promise, but is blocked by Andrelton Simmons. Drury is 20 and struggled in low-A ball last year.

No one piece of that package is spectacular, but there is a lot of upside in it, particularly with Delgado, and in Prado the Diamondbacks have upgraded their offense a great deal.

As for the Braves’ side of things: they got their man.  Upton may have struggled at times last season, but he has shown that he is capable  of elite performance at a young age, being only a year removed from an age-23 season in which he hit .289/.369/.529 while playing strong defense.  The biggest question will be how he does outside of the extremely friendly confines of Chase Field, where he boasts an OPS of .937. Compare that with his road OPS of .731.

In addition to Upton Atlanta gets Chris Johnson who may form the right-handed sign of a platoon at third base with Juan Francisco.  At least if no one tells Fredi Gonzalez that Johnson has hit righties better than he’s hit lefties in his career. For his part, Francisco is basically helpless against lefties.  Not the best third base situation in the world for the Braves, but Prado was entering his walk year and it’s doubtful that the budget conscious Braves were going to shell out big dollars for him when he became a free agent.

On balance, you have to invoke the “the team that got the best player won the trade” rule and say that the Braves won this trade, at least at the outset.  With the addition of Justin Upton the Braves have a middle-of-the-order bat they’ve lacked since Chipper Jones was able to play a full season. A middle-of-the order bat that’s under team control for three more years for $38 million, which isn’t too bad if he maintains his recent level of performance and is a downright bargain if he breaks out like many think he might. And putting him next to B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward, the Braves have one of the best outfields in baseball.

Whether this puts the Braves in a position to truly challenge the Nationals is an open question. But they have improved themselves.

100 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. joshtown81 - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Agreed. Been a Braves fan forever, and I HATE seeing Prado go. But if he was asking 11-12 million annually for an extension, we did the right thing by letting him go now, and having control of Johnson for another 3 years. Looks like we still have about 10 million to spend, maybe we arn’t done yet??

    • dcfan4life - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      Your not. With the Nats looking even better, the Phillies probably bouncing back now healthy, the Braves needed a splash. Not sure this is it. Id expect them to sign another bat.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        Let’s be clear: the Phillies getting healthy doesn’t really improve their prospects – that team is old and shallow and won’t challenge for the division unless the Nats and Braves are gutted by injuries. Take Michael Young and that crummy outfield and compare it to Atlanta and Washington and you’ve got the story right there. Then add the bullpens and rotations, and you’re looking at an NL East of 2 scary teams, 1 average team (nothing wrong with that, but that’s what the Phillies are now), and 2 bad teams.

        If the Braves sign one more bat, at 3B, then they will have a terrifying lineup.

  2. frenchysplatediscipline - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Say what you want about winners and losers – but I am a firm believer that trading Prado was a loss for the Braves.

    He was the sparkplug of that team. Not to mention our Swiss Army knife who could play basically anywhere but pitcher or catcher.

    Yes I like our outfield now, but at what cost…

    • stex52 - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      I find your commenter name to the point here. Chris Johnson can hit to somewhat above league average, but he has strikeout problems. Per a previous note, he needs to be reminded periodically that there is an outside corner to the plate.

      But where he will really get you is on defense. Make sure your 1st baseman does his stretching exercises.

    • natslady - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      Have to agree. Prado was underrated, but I understand why ATL was willing to let him go, with only 1 year of team control.. Also I very much understand why the D-Backs wanted him.

  3. sdelmonte - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Jason Heyward will henceforth be renamed Jason Upton.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      Just call him “Kate” instead.

      • sdelmonte - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:08 AM

        Headline to come: Up, Upton and Away?

      • foreverchipper10 - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        More like Up, Upton and J-Hey. Uber excited about this deal though I will miss Prado.

      • joshtown81 - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        I assume it would be “Up, Up, and a Hey” 😉

      • recoveringcubsfan - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:12 PM


  4. delusionalcardsfan - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    About friggin time. Doesn’t sound like the Dbacks are getting a ton but hopefully it pans out for everyone.

  5. soobster - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    I like Prado as much as the next guy but the Braves got Justin Upton lol c’mon now. Prado was what he was. A nice 2 hole super utility guy. Upton/Heyward offer stability and offense at the 3/4 spots for the next 7 years atleast. That’s a fantastic prospect if you’re a Braves fan.

  6. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Harbaughs in the Super Bowl, Staals in Carolina, Uptons in Atlanta. Pretty good year for pro sports brothers.

    • gwhempel - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      Rex and Rob disagree with you.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        Touche, sir, touche.

  7. Ben - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    I don’t this it was a disaster for either side, but it really does seem like Arizona got a collection of spare parts rather than a package that’s going to make a difference for the club down the road.

    Now just wait for all the comments (not here, but in general) about Atlanta’s “athletic outfield” now that they have three black players out there.

    • ezthinking - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:10 AM


      • Ben - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:17 AM

        Yes really. The racially coded language often used in baseball is that whites are “gritty,” Latinos are “hotheaded” and blacks are “athletic”. There was quite a lot of discussion on the Up and In Podcast about how these coded phrases are still used inside baseball, and the unfortunate tendencies of scouts to compare players only of the same race.

        Just for shits and giggles I searched “Upton outfield athletic” on Twitter. If you doubted for a second that “athletic” is coded language used to describe black players, you won’t be after that. Also compare “Upton outfield gritty” or “Upton outfield hotheaded” and get back to me.

      • Ben - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:34 AM

        Ahh hell, I’ll do it myself, since people here seem uncomfortable talking about baseball and race. Just a quick sample.

        No Tweet results for Upton outfield gritty.

        No Tweet results for Upton outfield hotheaded.

        Ok the Braves outfield might be most athletic ever after getting the Upton Brothers and Heyward. Get excited Braves fans! #stillnoAdamJones

        The two Upton’s and J.Hay in the outfield. Seems like Atlanta might have a pretty athletic outfield #LosBravos @YungJav4

        Braves have the best outfield in baseball and maybe the most athletic outfield in baseball history. Heyward and the Upton brothers

        NL East just got a whole lot tougher with the other Upton getting traded to Braves. That’s one athletic outfield. #nats

        on the other hand you got the Upton bros with J Hey in the outfield…that screams young, fast, athletic, potential

        Not a big fan of Justin Upton but Atlanta’s outfield is crazy athletic

        if the braves got justin upton…. that would be the most athletic outfield ever. #gobraves #makeithappen

    • sparty0n - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      Thank God I never even thought to notice skin color until you mentioned it…. On second thought, nope still not paying attention to it!

      • Ben - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        In many circles, color-blindness is considered the most pernicious form of racism because it intentionally refuses to see structural inequality while claiming to only be meritocratic. I’d tend to agree that color-blind arguments are amongst the worst.

      • sparty0n - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        I grew up in a small town (2800 ppl). My best friend was of a different “color”. Our parents never taught us to pay attention to our differences. I was never encouraged to asses someone based on the origin of their surname. Color blindness in NO WAY endorses inequality. It IS the innocence of children unless taught otherwise!

      • Ben - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:21 PM

        It does tacitly endorse inequality because it refuses to acknowledge that America is still a racist society where minorities are systemically disadvantaged by poor schooling options, fewer job prospects, discriminatory policing, lack of support for those who do make it to college, etc. The list is nearly infinite.
        The reason something like affirmative action is necessary is because not every kid has the same life chances, even if they are equally talented. I don’t pretend for a minute that I would be where I am today if I had grown up poor in the inner city, instead of the comfortable upper-middle class suburb that I did.

      • Ben - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:42 PM

        (So in that sense, something like affirmative action should be more about class than race–white kids from Appalachia or where ever face many of the same challenges)

      • historiophiliac - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        As long as you don’t pay attention to it, others will have to bring it up. When there’s no level playing field, you cannot pretend everyone has the same chances…well, you can, but then you don’t have any standing to be pissed when people point out the inequalities to you. Take your pick.

        Oh, and don’t kid yourself on the beneficence of children.

      • cur68 - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        Ben, you can’t change the world in one go: trust me. Its good enough that you made some people look at it and maybe think about it a bit. There is another tack you can take, if you like.

        I’ve been engaged in a sort of social experiment here on HBT for a couple years now. I’ve deliberately set out to use the opposite language for the various colours of ballplayers. Its a paradigm change crusade I’ve been on (with occasional lapses to refer to David Eckstien, MLB’s poster boy for grit: some guys really ARE gritty, regardless of whatever colour they happen to be).

        Now, If you’re interested, practice up something like this: “The Up, Up & Hey Braves outfield is probably one of the smartest, astute, and shrewd looking out fields I’ve ever seen. Their judgement on fly balls and baserunner tendencies is second to none.” Now trot that out all season long whenever any of these guys make a great play.

        It might make no difference or it might be the start of something, you never know. But, of such small pebbles are avalanches borne.

      • professormaddog31 - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        Ben – I’m glad that you brought up the rural poor, as they’ve had as many disadvantages as their inner city brethren, not the least of which are poor nutrition, poorly trained teachers, suspect health care options… I was one of those ‘rural poor’ people, my extended family lived in a hardscrabble house with a tin roof and different colored siding, who grew veggies to survive and not because of any sort of environmental cause. And even then, while we were getting the same block of government cheese and that nasty ass peanut butter that you have to stir and still never gets all the oil reincorporated, my racist father would say negative things about the nice black guy who lived down the hill from us.

        I’ll admit, I had the drive in life to get the hell out of Arkansas and not be like my family. I had the brains to do it. I had the good fortune of being clever with computers and a public school system that allowed one to use said computers during lunch break and after classes. I was lucky to hook up with the spousal unit, who came from a much more well off family than I did, and I can pose as someone who didn’t grow up in a backwards, redneck home fairly well.

        But not everyone has those same opportunities that I did. /end biography

        That being said, is there a racial undertone to the word “scrappy”? Because that’s my favorite way to describe players I particularly like. Scrappy.

    • eshine76 - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      I would argue that being considered “athletic” would be the ability to do several things well. In Heyward and the Uptons, you have guys who can hit for power and steal some bases, while doing ok on defense. You know who else can do that? Mike Trout. While I have no other proof, after a quick search I saw plenty of articles that considered him athletic. You know which outfield didn’t get more athletic this week? The Phillies with their signing of Delmon Young. He’s black, but no one is going on about his athleticism. Furthermore, I haven’t seen anyone using the term “hothead” when referring to Prado.

      • louhudson23 - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:50 PM

        Look at the brain on eshine….very nice…racism and the white power structure are still in place in society ,to be sure.And stereotypes affect all players,from hotheaded latins to athletic(ie not hardworking or smart,just talented)to gritty,smart(ie,slow and untalented) white players.But those stereo types and that white power structure are no where near what they once were. Refusing to base attitudes and observations on race can hardly be seen as denying systemic racism. Wish more folks concentrated on class system and not race.With the 1% income distribution currently in place for only the second time in the last 100 yearsand not since the period before the Great Depression(same for tax rates),business is not going to get better anytime soon…..racism is diverting,as always,which is not to deny in any way the pain inflicted upon the minority class… long as common people keep blaming those below them in the social structure(be they sharecroppers defending Jim Crow or the middle class blaming mexicans and welfare queens for the dismantling of our social structure and economy….those above piss(trickle) down,pissing uphill being a more difficult proposition…….Prado is the true prize and the Braves are going to miss him….playing third two years running will do him a world of good,Chipper finally gone and now they dump him to get a so far disappointing(I know,potential)younger Upton,who appears to be on the same career path as his older sibling…….

      • Dan the Mets Fan - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        It is true that they are pretty good athletes overall, but I think the point behind the term “athletic” is that it sort of suggestion a superior physicality is the main reason behind your success as a player, whereas “gritty” suggests that you are using mental discipline and drive. Yes, it is an athletic outfield, but there are lots of athletic guys out there and not all of them actually play good defense. It’s also incorrect to say their athleticism is the main driver of their success: Justin Upton and Jason Heyward actually stole fewer bases last year than Ryan Braun, so it is not as if they are deriving their success through sheer athleticism. It’s wrong to assume that the reason they play such good defense is because of their raw athleticism and not for the variety of normal mental and physical factors that go into being a good defender.

        Also, Delmon Young, in all fairness, is not a great counter-example considering he is the world’s fattest outfielder. If there is one guy that absolutely nobody could consider athletic, regardless of race, it’s him.

      • skids003 - Jan 25, 2013 at 8:12 AM

        How would you guys characterize Babe Ruth?

    • jarathen - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      I don’t see how the outfield is all that “athletic” any way you slice it. It’s relatively young, but none of the three is an adequate CF. Compared to the Angels, who have TWO excellent Center Fielders and one good corner outfielder.

      Offensively it may be a wash, but defensively, there are better outfields.

      • cur68 - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        Great comment. The Upton lads and Heyward will have to get by on their smarts. Their wits. Their intellect. If they want to compete with Trout, Bourjos & Hamilton’s natural grace and athleticism, they’ll have to use their smarts to play up to that level of skill and baseball instinct.

        Carry on.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        I see what you did there — using “athletic” to describe the white people. 😉

      • stex52 - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        Damn. Since I never paid to attention to the systematic way in which adjectives are employed, I’m a racist.

        I hate it when I’m like that.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        Oh, stex, you should hear the adjectives for women….

    • stlouis1baseball - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      Are you saying Atlanta doesn’t have an athletic outfield?

      Save it. This right here IS very much part of the problem….

      “Now just wait for all the comments (not here, but in general) about Atlanta’s “athletic outfield” now that they have three black players out there.”

    • joegolfer - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:48 AM

      Twitter isn’t exactly a scientific double blind study, Ben.
      Besides, the terms gritty and hotheaded are seldom used anyway, whereas the term athletic is, regardless of race.
      Seems like you’re trying to manufacture a story that isn’t there.
      Yes, Atlanta’s outfield will be considered athletic, but not because of the color of the player’s skin.
      They didn’t call Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio hotheaded either. Smooth, yes. Maybe they meant that all Italians are smooth and graceful.

  8. kevbarnett - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    And the Phillies will trot out the early 90’s hip hop group known as Ruf, Young,and Brown as their outfield.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      I am going to start my MC’ing career as Young Ruf now.

      • professormaddog31 - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        DJ Jazzy Ruf and the Stale Prince.

    • irishphilly87 - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:46 PM

      You forgot about Paul Revere

  9. natslady - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Still can’t get used to reading stuff like this, the bad years are not forgotten.

    Whether this puts the Braves in a position to truly challenge the Nationals is an open question. But they have improved themselves.

    Prado was a pesty Nats-killer, glad to see him out of the Division. That said, I feel both BJ and Justin will be better on the same team. BJ made it very clear he wanted his brother. For whatever reason, BJ was not playing up to his “potential” in Tampa. No there are no excuses.

    OK Using scouts’ ratings.

    (1) Outfield 75-80
    (2) Bullpen 60-75 if they can stay healthy and Fredi doesn’t overuse them
    (3) Infield 50 – maybe
    (4) Rotation – oooooh, very questionable.

    • natslady - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      Continuing. Here is why I think the rotation is questionable.

      Medlen – 70+ if healthy, which he should be.
      Hudson – getting up there and the Nats showed he was vulnerable last year. Let’s be generous and give him a 60.
      Beachy – 60+ if healthy.
      Maholm – 50 if he’s lucky. So– average to below-average even for a No. 3-4.
      Delgado is gone, so who is the No. 5? Are they signing Lohse?

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:12 AM

        I guess you just don’t like Mike Minor…

      • natslady - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        Mike Minor? Eh, not so much, though he’s what only 24-25? Yes, OK, he could be a good No. 5.

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        You’re forgetting Mike Minor, who made 30 starts last year and after a rough first couple months was one of their better starters.

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        What do you mean “could be a good No. 5”? He’s already been better than the average No. 5 starter.

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        um… over the second half I’d say Minor was better then Detwieler…

      • professormaddog31 - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        I’m dying…you should go on the road with this material.

        Beachy’s looking good so far, and Medlen’s on another planet. He’s a gd alien. And don’t even say that his pitching in the WBC is going to be a problem because he’s going to have Maddux as a coach and with their similar styles, the only thing that can happen is something good.

      • natslady - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        I don’t think there is anything wrong with Medlen pitching in the WBC, in fact, I wish Detwiler were pitching. Everyone is so worried about pitchers getting injured in the WBC, but they get injured in spring training all the time. I assume the WBC is using the DH?

      • webbza - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:25 PM

        The #5 spot was going to be decided upon in spring training between Teheran and Delgado. Now that Delgado is gone the 5 belongs to Teheran. Also, Brandon Beachy (considered one of the best young pitchers on the rise until injury) will not be included in the group until midseason because he is still recovering from Tommy John. Then you fail to mention Mike Minor who finished last season on a tear and is projected to be an anchor in the rotation within the next couple years, if he can limit the number of long balls he gives up. I’m gonna say you don’t really know much about the Braves rotation…

      • webbza - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        Oh and Maholm is there to strictly chew up innings and provide another left handed arm…they’re not relying on him to do big things

      • joegolfer - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:58 AM

        Gotta also consider Mike Minor and Julio Tehran as potentials.

    • ezthinking - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      Keep trolling, you’ll get a bite.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:29 AM

      Aaaaaaaand the nats fans have officially passed the Phillies fans on the “smugness” scale. Congrats!!!!! It only took you guys one year above .500 and zero championships!!!! lolz

      • recoveringcubsfan - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        Wow, some people are touchy. You could just be a good-natured, helpful commenter (like Natslady who, while often misguided, is about as friendly as anybody on the internet). But no, you want to be cooler than the Nats fans and Phillies fans, so you have to label them as jerks. You could just converse with her, especially if you think you can correct something she’s said. You don’t have to act like a Nats fan and be all smug about it.

        I would also like to point out that telling the fans of the reigning division champ that they are smug is pretty weak. Excitement is smugness now. How fun these message boards will be next season.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        First of all, I don’t see the work “jerk” in my post do you?

        Second of all, I Am a Phillies fan who was busting the balls of the nats fans.

        Third of all…..ah, forget it. I feel for you since you root for a team that hasn’t won a World Series since Teddy Roosevelt was in office.

      • natslady - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        Don’t confuse gratitude with smugness! Oh, OK, go ahead and confuse it! Smug is good when you have something to be smug about!!!!! (Which we never had in years past.)

        Sorry I left out Mike Minor. I was reading an article which analyze Atlanta’s rotation, and THEY left out Minor. Then I was adding in my own impressions, and Minor was entirely forgettable… Now, he may be fine this year, but I still think the rotation is not a strength, as I do think the outfield and the bullpen are.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:37 PM

        Wait, you’re a self-hating Phillies fan? Nice to meet you! I thought only us Boys of Zimmer could be that pathological. Damn, this changes everything!

        Anyway, my apologies if I was too blunt. Too often these comments just devolve into “fans of X team are overly-entitled and here’s a putdown,” instead of anything useful. Thank you for clarifying – see you in the next thread.

      • joegolfer - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:14 AM

        Chris Fiorentino, you stated that you didn’t use the word “jerks”. Still, the whole tone of your post implied the same thing, even if you didn’t specifically use the word “jerk”. “Officially passed the Phillies fans on the smugness scale”, followed by another snide comment.
        When you got called on it, you reacted like some high school boy trying to protect his manliness.
        And then you rip the Nats fans again at the end of your follow-up post which was supposedly defending your position that you weren’t ripping on the Nats fans as jerks.
        @recoveringcubsfan was correct. Natslady may sometimes screw up the facts or have differing opinions than the masses. So she forgot about a prominent pitcher. That’s no reason to tear her a new one. Just mention it like everyone else did.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 25, 2013 at 7:44 AM

        Sorry if I offended you Joe…I promise it will happen again.

  10. ebrownwareagle - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    BEST Outfield in The MLB if these guys ALL play to their potential!

    • historiophiliac - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      IDK about that…

    • oldnavyperformancefleece - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      Angels, Reds, Dodgers, Nats are all better. Braves outfield is very good but not the best.

      • jarathen - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        So long as Vernon Wells never sniffs the grass. I consider Trumbo fourth man here.

      • A.J. - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:50 AM

        The Angels yes, the Dodgers quite likely if Crawford is Crawfordy again, and unless JUp takes a big step and BJ gets his OBP up.

        The Nats are debatable unless Harper goes “Full Trout” this season but I do like Span. Still that one will probably be decided by whose young stars take the biggest step.

        I just don’t see it with the Reds, especially if we’re including defense in the mix. With Choo playing CF compared with the D the Braves have that is a huge advantage ATL (not saying they are 3 Willie Mayses by any stretch, but BJ is solid, Jason is great and Justin has been really good when healthy too). Even if the Reds OF bats are better, which I don’t think, but will concede for arguments sake, I don’t think they are good enough to overcome the mess that Choo in CF could be.

  11. trevorb06 - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    I’m willing to say the Upton bros. each have pretty good seasons this year. I imagine they’ll push each other by seeing who is the better of them in the name of brotherly love. I like this deal for both sides. The D-backs still got a nice haul.

  12. The Dangerous Mabry - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    I feel like due to his ability to play around the diamond, Prado may be underrated by most and considered no more than a “utility man”. I understand a lot of people may not love WAR as a measure, but here’s Prado:

    2009: 2.8
    2010: 4.9
    2011: 1.8
    2012: 5.4

    Total: 14.9

    There’s certainly some inconsistency there, but at his worst, he’s been a solid every day player, and at his best, he’s been an all star. And yes, you can play him at three positions, and he’s not going to hurt you defensively in any of them.

    Upton is a giant pile of upside, who has been nearly as valuable as Prado even while playing at a “disappointing” level, so this may work out very well for the Braves. But it’s not like they didn’t give up anything. The futures of Delgado, Ahmed, Spruill, and Drury may end up defining this trade.

  13. stabonerichard - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    For the Dbacks, the jewel of the package they’re receiving is a glorified utility man, who turns 30 this year and will take up ~10% of the Dbacks’ overall payroll for the next few years if they keep him around.

    I mean, yeah, there’s some nice filler to round out the deal, and perhaps one of those pitchers pans out to be a #2 or #3 type of guy, but they’re giving up Justin freaking Upton who’s heading into his age 25/26/27 seasons at reasonable salary.

    As usual it will take a while to see just how this trade shakes out for each side, but at this point I think it’s heavily in the Braves’ favor. This is the type of deal the Braves are thrilled to pull the trigger on, while Towers & the Dbacks are simply content to move on from the (self-created) drama that has dragged on for too long.

    • natslady - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      For months, I’ve been totally mystified at what Towers is doing and this deal hasn’t solved the mystery for me. That said, don’t underestimate Prado.

      ATL is better than they were before the trade, but are they better than they were last year?

      ATL lost Bourn, Chipper, and Prado. Gained the Uptons and Johnson, and Hudson is a year older.

      It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but as I said above, I believe the Uptons have no excuse now and they will play to their potential. I hope not, but I believe they will.


    • kinggw - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      If you think Prado is just a glorified utility man, maybe you should watch some games. Im not sure what the relevance was to bringing up Prado’s age. He won’t be 30 until after the end of next season. Furthermore, he’s not a NFL running back so his production isn’t going to fall off because he’s hitting 30.

      It may have been an outlier, but Prado was also more productive than Upton last season. Prado had 58 xbh and 70 Rbi versus the 45xbh and 67 rbi that Upton had last season. Prado struck out 69 times last year, Upton 121. Upton definitely has more upside and potential to be an all star every year, but unless he returns to his ’11 form, this deal isnt a slam dunk in favor of the Braves. As a Nats fan Im glad that Prado is gone and the Braves added 250 more strikeouts to their lineup with Johnson and Upton.

      • stabonerichard - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        Yes, a glorified utility man… thru age 28 he’s had two seasons where he was an above-average everyday player.

        Regarding his age, his closest bbref comp is Jeff Cirillo, whose last good year came at age 31. It doesn’t mean Prado is doomed to fall apart once he hits the wrong side of 30, but if I’m choosing between paying Upton ~$13M/yr for his age 25/26/27 seasons vs. paying Prado ~$10M at age 30 & beyond, it’s kinda ridiculous. And the rest of the filler the Dbacks received doesn’t come close to filling the gap IMO.

        Prado is a nice player that the Braves sold high on before a) he hits age 30 and the downturn of his cUpton is an inconsistent youngareer, and b) he becomes expensive. And with Upton, we’ve kinda known all along the Dbacks were going to end up selling low.

      • stabonerichard - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        Yikes, let me try that last part again…

        Prado is a nice player that the Braves sold high on before a) he hits age 30 and the downturn of his career, b) he becomes expensive. And with Upton, we’ve kinda known all along the Dbacks were going to end up selling low.

  14. sargespeak - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Its ashame that Dom and Joe Dimaggio did not play together!

  15. csndrew - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Step 1: B.J.
    Step 2: Justin
    Step 3: Kate
    Step 4: Profit

    • abaird2012 - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      Who’s “Profit”?

      • Francisco (FC) - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:23 PM

        I was going to ask why step one has to involve sex but…

      • kiwicricket - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        Dont ask, just go along with it.

  16. logankivo - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Dbacks can always flip prado at deadline for more prospects or offer qualifying offer for 1st round pick next year. I think this a pretty good haul considering Atlanta wouldn’t deal both Delgado and Teheran.

    Gonna be exciting watching upton brothers this year, should be fun

  17. webbza - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    I like the risk that the Braves are willing to take on Upton, but there is no question that Prado will be missed. Prado does it all. He consistently gets on base and hits .300. He’s one of the best hitters in baseball with two strikes or two outs. He plays all over the diamond (first, second, third, short, and left). His teammates say he’s one of the hardest working guys around. In my opinion, Prado is one of the most underrated players in the game.
    I think the Braves should’ve pushed to trade Teheran with a package of minor leaguers instead of Delgado and Prado. Since Teheran is the top pitching prospect in baseball right now, he would hold plenty of value in a trade.
    Also, the Braves no longer have an obvious lead off man. I imagine that any one of the three outfielders will fill that role, but both Upton brothers strike out a little too much for that. Heyward in the lead off spot would work. Although, I doubt that Fredi Gonzalez wants to take JHey out of the spot that he will most likely remain in for the rest of his career.
    Upton was a good pick up for Atlanta, but I think they could’ve found a better way to get this deal done.

    • Alex K - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      Did Dylan Bundy change his name to Julio Teheran?

      • webbza - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        My bad.. Teheran is no longer listed as a prospect, but at the end of the season he was listed as the #1 overall prospect in the game.

      • Alex K - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        I think you’re confusing “in the game” with “in the Braves system”. Tehran has never been the #1 rated prospect in the game on any list I’ve seen. He’s still their #1 prospect on lists I’ve seen this year.

      • webbza - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        As soon as Trout and Harper played enough games at the major league level last season, Teheran moved to #1 overall on’s list of top 20 prospects and remained there the majority of the season. Watch out using the word never when you don’t know what you’re taking about.

      • Alex K - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:03 PM

        First, I said it was on any list I have ever seen so, yeah, never is the perfect word choice. Every list I saw last year had Bundy as the top pitching prospect. If you’re using then Tehran is still listed as a #24.

        He’s still a great prospect, just not the best in MLB.

      • Alex K - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        Sorry, that was a list from last year. I’m pretty sure he still has his prospect status, though since fangraphs has him listed as the Braves best prospect.

  18. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    The Yankees can trade Youk to the Braves once (if) ARod is back and healthy.

  19. hisgirlgotburrelled - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    “But they have improved themselves.”

    They improved themselves on what the outfield was as of yesterday, but certainly not on what it was last season. That was a great OF with Bourn, Prado, and Heyward last season.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      That’s a good point. I don’t understand the finer points of contracts, but Bourn is still out there and could perhaps have been had on a 1-year deal. Upton is a better investment, since they have him for 3 years, but they gave up their 3B to get him and replaced Prado with…pottage. A mess of it.

      The year that Justin hits like the stud he is, the Braves will blow everyone away offensively. (They could use another SP, but that’s a story for another time.) But I think we can all imagine a year where Heyward, BJ, and Justin all hit at the low-end of their talent, as we all know they are capable of doing, and then the Braves will be horrible. I guess what I’m getting at is that this trade, and acquiring BJ Upton prior to it, leave the Bravos with a lineup with no great hitters in it – Prado would at least have been consistent. There is no Chipper, or a Y. Molina, or a Braun – guys who will put up across-the-board numbers that can bolster the offense despite and slumps from hitters like the Uptons, who can be bad for long stretches of time. The lineup now looks very good on paper, but there’s a possibility that the whole team could go cold at the plate for a week and the Braves will lose 7 in a row.

      • natslady - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        I checked with an Atlanta writer and he “doesn’t see” them going for Lohse. He did say they still have money to spend, so something could still happen to shore up the rotation or the infield.

  20. jsally430 - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I’m calling it now mets 2013 nl east champs

  21. bravojawja - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    *deep breath*
    600 strikeouts from the outfield is ok.

    Isn’t it?

  22. ebrownwareagle - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Prado won’t be missed(injure prone)!The Upton’s will be accepted!

  23. webbza - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    It looks to me like the braves are building a team to score a lot of runs and let the bullpen ice the game after 6 or 7….this lineup has 6 maybe even 7 guys that should hit 20+ home runs this year. That’s a big change from where they were just 2 years ago. Good balance in the order as far as mixing up lefties and righties also.

  24. phreakin - Jan 24, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    A little birdie tells me Prado will be signing a 4 year, $50 million deal in the next 48-72 hours. As a side note, both teams are HOPING they make out the best in the deal. Anyone who criticizes Arizona for getting rid of Upton hasn’t been paying attention the last 2 years. The guy has the always prominent “superstar” potential as long as he’s not talked bad about, yelled at, or booed by anyone. If he is then watch out for the pouting Upton. The guy has all the talent in the world but lets EVERYTHING get to him. Gibby was Uptons biggest fan and defender because he believed in him. But he also pushed Upton to be the best he could be and Upton crumbled from the pressure. Hopefully since he won’t feel the need to be the man in Atlanta, he can focus more on just playing. If not, he won’t be in a Braves uniform when his contract is done in 3 years.

  25. mcjon22 - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    Hmm, Funny. ESPN said Atlanta got Upton for “50 cents on the dollar” in this trade, saying Prado is decent but is in a walk year, Delgado is a middle of the rotation guy at his peak, the other 2 prospects are ranked 7th and 9th respectfully in the Braves farm system. Just sayin’

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