Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Perhaps the National Football League
doesn't have the brothers' storyline cornered after all.
In keeping with what should be the theme of the sports world over the next few
weeks, the Atlanta Braves reunited a pair of brothers on Thursday, as they
agreed to acquire outfielder Justin Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks,
pairing him with his brother, B.J., who signed with the team earlier this
The reported seven-player deal, which likely won't be finalized until early
next week, has the Braves sending Martin Prado, shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed,
infielder Brandon Drury and right-handed pitchers Randall Delgado and Zeke
Spruill to Arizona for the two-time All-Star Upton as well as infielder Chris
At first glance, you have to love this trade for Atlanta. Actually, at any
glance you have to love this deal for the Braves, who now possess arguably the
best outfield in baseball with the Upton brothers and Jayson Heyward, or as
one clever person already referred to the group "Up, Up and Hey."
The Washington Nationals and manager Davey Johnson have stated that it is a
World Series or bust for them this season. They won 98 games last year and
should be better this year with a full season of Stephen Strasburg, the
continued growth of Byrce Harper, as well as the additions of Denard Span, Dan
Haren and Rafael Soriano.
Atlanta needed to do something to keep pace. To keep up with the Jones, they
essentially had to add the Uptons.
In Justin Upton, the Braves get a player who has hit .278 with 108 home runs
and a .832 OPS since making his major league debut during the 2007 season. The
25-year-old outfielder was one of the game's top outfielders as he hit .289
with 31 homers and a .898 OPS in 2011 with the D-backs. A thumb injury this
past season, though, limited him, as he hit .280 with 17 homers and a .785 OPS.
Plus, he gives Atlanta the middle-of-the-order bat that the team has lacked for
some time now. And he's also under team control for the next three years at a
very reasonable $38 million.
If there is a downside to the deal, it is that the Braves had to include Prado.
But if including him was the trade off for the Braves in allowing them to keep
their top pitching prospect Julio Teheran, who projects to be a No. 1 or 2
starter, out of it, then the deal has to be made.
Losing Prado will hurt, but you have to give to get in this league. Upton has
the ability to be a top-three outfielder in this league. Prado is a nice bat at
best. And a singles hitter at that. Who knows what Upton's production will be
with Heyward batting in front of him, his brother, a healthy Brian McCann
and power hitter Freddie Freeman behind him.
And Prado is a free agent at the end of this coming season.
Delgado was the Braves' third-best pitching prospect at best and has nowhere
near the upside of Teheran.
The move was a no-brainer for Atlanta.
And by the same token, it was a no-brainer for Arizona. As good of a deal as
it was for the Braves, it may turn out to be just as good for the
Diamondbacks, who were thought to have lost all their leverage once Upton
rejected a potential trade to Seattle.
There was no way the Diamondbacks could have gone into spring training with
this nonsense hanging over the team. And more moves are likely to come, as the
team still has a glut in the outfield after signing Cody Ross.
Whether or not the Braves have done enough to compete with Washington remains
to be seen, but they are certainly in a better position to do so today then
they were yesterday.
The Sports Network