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D-Backs president still happy with Justin Upton trade

Apr 12, 2013, 11:15 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins Getty Images

Yeah, it’s early and yeah, Justin Upton isn’t going to post Ruthian offensive stats for an entire season, but the initial results on the trade between the D-Backs and Braves isn’t exactly even. Upton is tied for the Major League lead in homers with six and is looking like a tour de force in the middle of the Braves’ batting order.

The Braves acquired Upton along with third baseman Chris Johnson from the Diamondbacks back in January in exchange for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, and prospects Brandon Drury, Nick Ahmed, and Zeke Spruill.

What made the trade particularly shocking is the confluence of Upton’s age (25), team-friendly contract ($38.5 million over the next three seasons), and his obvious skill. Players like Upton rarely become available — even more rarely at that relative cheapness — and that is becoming the case even more lately as teams work tirelessly to get their franchise superstars locked up for a long time.

Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall still thinks the trade worked out well for both teams.

“I think it’s a situation where it was a perfect situation for him actually and for us we got what we needed,” Hall stated. “I mean this was just two different teams that had two different needs and it worked out well for both, not to mention we still have four prospects that we’re going to be dealing with in the next few years.”

The reality is, the D-Backs were under no pressure to get rid of Upton. Any pressure they felt was self-imposed in their desire to construct a more “gritty” roster. This isn’t to say that the players the D-Backs acquired can’t be good, but if you ask 100 current and former GM’s if they would have made the trade from the Braves’ perspective, all 100 would say yes before you even finish your sentence. Any attempt by Arizona’s upper management to spin the Upton trade as a net positive is disingenuous.

  1. cur68 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    D-Backs have to justify stupidity. Management motto: if you can’t fool everyone, just fool yourself.

    • natslady - Apr 13, 2013 at 1:48 AM

      The “throw in” (Chris Johnson) is hitting .357, and went 3 for 5 tonight with a home run tonight.

      • bigmeechy74 - Apr 13, 2013 at 2:30 AM

        Oh well in that case never mind. Great deal for Arizona! Eat your heart out Atlanta!

  2. lazlosother - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    Yah, well keep your silly WAR. In Arizona they value players by GRIT – Gigantic Radically Intense Testicularity. The rest of the league will catch up eventually.

  3. joecool16280 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    Is “gritty” code for caucasian? Because the D-Backs sort of look that way. Weird.

    • js20011041 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:54 PM

      Well, considering they traded a black player (Upton) for a Venezuelan (Prado) and a white player (Bauer) for black one (Gregorius), I’m assuming that race didn’t play a role. The moves were dumb enough on merit. No need to dig that deep for reasons to criticize their moves this winter.

  4. detroitfanatic - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    Wow. I didn’t realize how little they got in return for Upton. Holy crap. The Rays got way more for 2 years of Shields and a 5th starter than the DBs got for 3 years of Upton and a pretty good third baseman..

    • biasedhomer - Apr 13, 2013 at 12:18 AM

      That right there is the difference between good management and bad management.

      Rays know how to make trades, they restock the farm system by trading their stars. And they can trade players like Shields because of prospects they have acquired ready to step up (and also good drafting).

  5. illegalblues - Apr 13, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    I love jokes as much as anyone else, but you are nuts if you think the Upton trade was about race. team just likes dudes that’ll run into a wall and miss a few months every year.

  6. hittfamily - Apr 13, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    Long ago, Howard Cosell told Muhammed Ali that he was “being extremely truculent”. Ali responded, “Whatever truculent means, if it’s good, I’m that.”

    Gibson and Derrick Hall told Justin he plays with no grit. Upton responded, “Whatever ‘No Grit’ means, if it’s good, I’m that”.

  7. larryfitzgerald4mvp - Apr 13, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    So you can talk about Upton’s 6 HRs and say that the Braves have already won the trade, but disregard the fact that the Dbacks have started 7-3 without Upton?

    You can’t ignore one early season result and praise the other. Likewise, you can’t keep calling the move stupid if the Dbacks continue to be successful without Upton.

    • hittfamily - Apr 13, 2013 at 1:27 AM

      The Rays have won 90 games every season but 1 since they passed on Buster Posey in favor of Tim Beckham. You can’t ignore the success they have had as a result of not drafting Buster Posey, right?

      Maybe in both cases, they were bad decisions that have hurt both teams, but haven’t made them bad.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 13, 2013 at 7:17 AM

        I shudder to think how good they’d be if they’d gone with the consensus BPA there.

      • paperlions - Apr 13, 2013 at 10:18 AM


        Good results happen sometimes in spite of poor process or poor decisions. I think the D-Backs are still a good team this year despite making some bad trades and signings. They just started with so much talent in the organization that despite making trades that resulted in the organization having less talent AND paying that talent more than what they started with….they are still a solid team. There is no way you can look at the Young trade, the Bauer trade, or the Upton trade and say the D-backs got full value…or even useful players that filled holes…then they overpaid for Cody Ross.

        The Upton move was dumb because he is 25 and very talented…and he played all of last year with a wrist injury, which always kill a players power. Anyone without their head up their ass assumed Upton would have a huge bounce back year with two healthy wrists.

    • bigmeechy74 - Apr 13, 2013 at 2:32 AM

      The diamondbacks could go 160-2 and it wouldn’t mean that they got good value for Upton. Wow you are totally missing the point

  8. sfm073 - Apr 13, 2013 at 4:02 AM

    Maybe it was addiction by subtraction? Sometimes players personalities don’t match that of their manager and other players. The cardinals traded Colby Rasmus and were just better bc he was no longer on the team.

    • js20011041 - Apr 13, 2013 at 7:25 AM

      Thy might be part of it. I think a bigger part is that Rasmus simply isn’t a very good player. He’s been sub-replacement level for the last two years. His only good year, 2010, was fueled by something like a .364 BABIP. He’s off to an ok start so far, but it’s still very early.

  9. 821burks - Apr 13, 2013 at 4:20 AM

    I’m sick of every single member of the media panning the D-backs trade. Try letting it pan out for once. It’s freaking APRIL.

    • schmedley69 - Apr 13, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      Come on, get with the program. Everyone knows that what happens in the first 2 weeks of the season always carries over for the entire 162 games. Just read the Josh Hamilton post. According to some people on there, Mike Trout is a bust because he’s off to a slow start. If the Angels GM was smart, he would trade him now while he can get something for him.

  10. brewcrewfan54 - Apr 13, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    Actually the Cardinals became better because in return for Rasmus the got bullpen help which is exactly what they needed at the time.

  11. louhudson23 - Apr 13, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    They didn’t want the guy on their team. What can possibly be so hard to understand about that? As far as they were concerned,he walked around jaking it and had a hearty “fuck you” for anyone who had the temerity to call him on it. He is now gone and they no longer have to deal with him. That means it was a successful action on their part.. Whatever he does with the rest of his career,good or bad, he is no longer their problem….

    • paperlions - Apr 13, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      If you don’t want a $1,000,000 in your bank account because it lacks grit, and you publicly complain about the $1,000,000 for two years and then trade it to someone for cattle worth $400,000 because you love and need beef….that still doesn’t mean you didn’t make a horrible deal and drive down the price of your own asset with your own stupidity.

    • 821burks - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:14 AM

      THANK YOU!!

  12. schmedley69 - Apr 13, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Let’s re-visit this at the end of the season when the Braves do their annual tank job and see how the trade looks then. Upton has been huge for them early on, which is a good thing because B.J. and Heyward have been awful. If Justin really is a dog as some Arizona people have been saying, it will show itself over time.

  13. sportsfan8888 - May 15, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Upton was a moody, inconsistent player who
    was not a fit for the team,chemistry and management of the Dbacks…

    Sure, Upton is happy now playing along side his brother in Atlanta,
    but you would see a different Upton if he stayed in Arizona or was shipped off
    to another city that was not totally of his liking….

    When Upton goes into one of his patented “grand canyon” slumps
    he won’t be able to “blame the man” for his problems this time…

    Hope it works out with the Braves and for Upton…

    But, some people see Upton in Arizona and saw him as a younger version of Milton Bradley…
    Upton could go either way in his career, but he would be wise to can the moody Milton Bradley act
    when things are not going his way………..

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