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Why did the Dbacks trade Justin Upton anyway?

Jan 24, 2013, 1:16 PM EDT

justin upton getty Getty Images

To read Bob Nightengale’s piece in USA Today, it sounds like a bit of a temper tantrum.

The most I can tell: he wasn’t as good last year as he had been the year before. Then they didn’t like that he reacted negatively to the team’s owner talking smack about him in the press and openly shopping him.  Then they got really mad at him when he rejected the trade to the Mariners, despite the fact that the Dbacks are the ones that gave him a no-trade clause in the first place. Nowhere in there is it said that Upton’s poor (for him) 2012 might have something to do with the fact that he suffered a thumb injury at the beginning of the season that even the smack-talking owner described as “nagging.”

We never can really know what goes into a team’s assessment of a player. But if the Dbacks’ souring on Upton is really about him having an off year, not liking that he was being publicly denigrated by his team’s owner and then not agreeing to be traded to a place where the Dbacks promised they would not trade him, well, they may need to look in the mirror a little bit and see if the problem was really Justin Upton.

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Not gritty enough for Kirk Gibson, guessing.

    • ezthinking - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      From the Gibson interview he wanted Upton.

      • Jason @ IIATMS - Jan 24, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        He wanted Upton to be GRITTIER

  2. braddavery - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    The Diamondbacks’ loss is the Braves’ gain. Watch him turn it around and finally become the superstar many thought he could be. Crazy that he will start the season at only 25 years old.

    • townballblog - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      Not to mention that this will have a tremendously positive impact on B.J Upton.

      • djpostl - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        And you know this because….?

      • townballblog - Jan 24, 2013 at 6:12 PM

        I rubbed Craig’s head and it allowed me to see the future.

      • paperlions - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:44 PM

        BS, his compound is FORTIFIED! No way you got past the security.

      • townballblog - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:35 PM

        It was easy, all I had to do was dress as Batman :-)

  3. cur68 - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    He played all season with that thumb bugging him. He’s got plenty of grit. What’s more he managed to be reasonably more effective than a lot of guys his age and experience who were arguably healthy. In the context of his age, experience, and what he’s capable of when healthy (not to mention that he’ll likely get better as he gets older and gains experience) this willingness to trade him is a bit on the stupid side. Well, whatever. We have the chance now to see if the Upton brothers can back-to-back homer while on the same team. That’s worth the price of admission.

    66 days to go to Opening Day.

  4. The Baseball Gods - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Whatever makes you feel good Craig.

  5. heyblueyoustink - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Maybe they wanted to see what an amazingly talented and frustratingly underachieving outfield would look like, just not on their turf.

  6. The Baseball Gods - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    I find it interesting that the 5 stories about the Justin Upton trade on this website were all written by Craig, even though he is obviously has a bias towards the Atlanta Braves. Shouldn’t one of the other writers give some input so we can get some unbiased views on this trade?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      I don’t understand this. If you have a problem with the analysis, point it out. Merely starting that Craig is a fan doesn’t automatically make him wrong because he’s “biased”.

    • lazlosother - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      This trade is being written about all over the web. Is this the only site you are aware of?

    • ezthinking - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      Maybe you’re new here but, 1 Craig always wears his Braves pride right out front – it’s not a secret; 2. Craig does the morning/day shift so he will be writing most the articles; and, 3 it’s a BLOG not a supreme court opinion. Others may argue those two are the same.

      • joegolfer - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:32 AM

        You forgot #4: Craig has a huge mancrush on Barry Bonds.

  7. rickeye9 - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    The snacks traded one of the best valued players in the league for a minimal upgrade 3rd when you talk about prado vs CJ, awesome, and Delgado is prob 5th best sp prospect the dbacks have now… awful trade

    • nolanwiffle - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      This comment would make more sense if the article had been about Little Debbie being traded to Hostess for Chief Big Wheels.

  8. Kevin Gillman - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Craig, wasn’t he being talked about in trade rumors as far back as 2011?

    • paperlions - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      Yep, pretty much as soon as Gibson was hired as manager.

      • Kevin Gillman - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:36 PM

        Maybe they just didn’t get along then? At least the deal was done, because it might have been awkward if he had stayed with the team.

  9. dondada10 - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Craig, I gotta eat crow. Yesterday I said that you were reaching for straws saying J.Upton was going to the Braves.

    • Old Gator - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      That was just Craig cleaning the dog hair off the straws of his kitchen broom.

  10. notoriousbri - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    not a braves fan at all.. not a hater of the braves either.. this is really a great move for the braves though imo. Giving up prado is tough but that outfield should be something.. would have liked this more if they kept bourne and just got justin but whats done is done.. great young arms and great outfield bats.. should move them into division contention or at the very least wildcard contention for the next few years.

  11. flosox - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    “that even the smack-talking owner described as “nagging.” ”

    Wow, can’t believe the owner straight up called him a nagger…

    • stlouis1baseball - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      ??? As in Blazing Saddles?

      • flosox - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:53 PM


  12. chacochicken - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    I suspect Kevin Towers will be watching a game in a bar 5 years from now, completely drunk, telling everyone that he traded that guy.

    • paperlions - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:47 PM

      This has been bugging me. Is a “chacochicken” a chachalaca? Those things are tasty.

      • chacochicken - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:43 PM

        An impressive guess. Yes and no. Yes it is essentially the same thing, in fact specifically there is a Chaco Chachalaca however the handle is in reference to something else entirely (my job and pop culture)

  13. jrobitaille23 - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    I think the reason he was traded is that he just doesn’t put in the effort to be the best he can be. He has so much talent and should be much better than he ever will be. You get his influence away from the team, get a great player in Prado, a serviceable #4 or #5 in Delgado and a couple of prospects. Upton is like so many ‘franchise’ type players who just never developed into the superstar they were supposed to be. Delmon Young, JD Drew, Baldelli are some examples of guys having decent careers but never reaching elite. Atlanta is not a hitters park like Arizona so I don’t see his numbers getting to much better. He is a 20-20 guy that people thought could approach 40-40. He may use this ‘diss’ as fuel to get better and show them they were wrong about him but I doubt it.

    • joegolfer - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:35 AM

      One can hardly include Rocco Baldelli in that mix, considering that his career was cut short by a significant illness, not a lack of effort or talent.

  14. bigharold - Jan 24, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Kendrick didn’t like the fact that one player did come back earlier from a rather serious injury. And, his problem with the other player was that he in fact played through a “nagging” injury but wasn’t as consistent.

    So what he’s really looking for are players that play through injuries but don’t let their production suffer. Well that sounds reasonable.

    Upton will be Soooooo much better off away from this buffoon.

    • gloccamorra - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      Kevin Towers may eventually feel the same way. KT isn’t doing what he’s done to the D’backs on his own initiative.

  15. steelers88 - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Why did they trade upton and and Johnson. I think the Dbacks were close to being a playoff contender again this year.

  16. joegolfer - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    Like most, I think the Braves got the better of this deal.
    But man oh man is that ever going to be a streaky lineup for the Braves.
    Most of them are known for having hot streaks but also prolonged slumps.
    Atlanta just better pray that they don’t all sync up like the menstrual cycles of some women’s book club.
    Imagine J. Upton, BJ Upton, Heyward, Freeman, Uggla, and now Chris Johnson, and so on, all syncing up their slumping ways together.

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