Thanks, but no thanks Buster. (Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE)

Justin Upton Isn't Coming to the Atlanta Braves

Well I wasn’t really planning this post but I can’t really keep myself from writing it. The topic has been covered by David Lee over at Capitol Avenue Club but with all of the tweets and especially the comments on MLBTR I felt it was necessary to address Justin Upton.

Before we even get to how the Braves and Justin Upton relate let me just say this:

I think it is extremely sketchy that the Arizona Diamondbacks are “willing to consider offers” on easily their best player.

There are a number of reasons that this scares me, and should scare anyone who is looking into trading for Justin Upton.

  1. Justin Upton is arguably one of the top 5 players under the age of 25 right now.
  2. Justin is under control through 2015 to a ridiculously team friendly contract
  3. The Diamondbacks have said they are still trying to compete, after trading their best player.

The third number is particularly troubling. It doesn’t make much sense to me to try and compete but also trade your best player. Based on these things, something is wrong with Justin Upton, and its probably got more to do with his attitude and work ethic than his health or performance.

The Diamondbacks have said that they are not convinced that he is a winning player. I’m not sure how he isn’t a winning player but I’d also like to think that the organization knows a heck of a lot more about the guy than me.

Regardless of all of this, the Diamondbacks asking price for Upton is going to be astronomical considering his talent, age, health, and team friendly contract. Given all of those things, I think you could make a solid argument that Justin Upton has the highest trade value out of any major league ball player.

Now let’s relate all of this to the Braves… Oh wait, you can’t.

For all of you who think that the Braves are the favorite to get Justin Upton, or that the Braves match up well with the Diamondbacks for a trade, or that the Braves are interested at all in acquiring Justin Upton… calm down just a little bit.

The Braves will not be trading for Justin Upton because the Braves do not need Justin Upton.

Wait what? What kind of a team wouldn’t need Justin Upton?

Well, the Braves. If you were diligent enough to click that handy link you would have found out that the Braves outfielders lead all teams in baseball in WAR with 11.4. If you dig a little deeper you will find that our outfielders are all within the top 10 in outfield WAR. Michael Bourn (2) has 4.5, Martin Prado (7) has 3.8, and Jason Heyward (8) has 3.5. All of them have been better this year than Justin Upton (62) has been with 1.2.

Now I’m not telling you that all of our outfielders are better outfielders than Justin Upton. He is going to be a phenomenal player and already has great numbers for his career, but all three of our outfielders have been better than Upton this year.

The Braves will be making moves at the deadline, and they will be making moves for big names, but those big names and big moves will be focused on pitchers not outfielders. Our outfielders have arguably been the best thing about the 2012 Braves. The pitching is arguably the weakest thing about the 2012 Braves. Frank Wren isn’t dumb. He is going to get another starting pitcher (cross your fingers for Zack Greinke).


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Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks Atlant Braves Frank Wren Jason Heyward Justin Upton Martin Prado Michael Bourn Trade Deadline Trade Rumors

  • BC Clemmons

    I agree. I am not seeing any position the Braves really need an upgrade.Sure their bench could use some additions.Besides, Upton could be a head case. If Braves fans got their panties in a wad over Mike Minor’s show of confidence in Spring Training, I am sure they will just love the moody Upton(sarcasm). If he has trouble playing for Gibson, who expects effort, what makes these folks that want him think he will change his spots with the Braves? Upton has talent, no doubt about it.I just do not think he is what the Braves need. My two cents worth.

    • aRunning_Maniac

      Well, there is our SS situation. There’s no guarantee that Simmons will return this year, and we already know Wilson and Pastornicky can’t cut it. Instead of all this nonsense about Upton, I would rather look into a different D’back… and that would be Stephen Drew. Drew is a free agent after this season, and he would be a good pickup for the Braves this year, as well as next year, and possibly even beyond. Drew wouldn’t cost us too much in terms of prospects, and if we were to pick up his option for next year, he could be an ideal candidate to replace Chipper. Prado could stay in LF, and assuming Bourn doesn’t receive an extension, our search for one outfielder will obviously be easier than looking for two. If Bourn does stay, we would be all set in terms of position players. Either way, it seems like it would be worth a look.

      • Carlos Collazo

        Drew has been mentioned a few times and I would be fine with him coming over until Simmons was back if it didn’t cost a ton BUT I really would like to see Martin Prado take over at third base next year. As good as he is defensively in left I still feel like his best defensive position is at third. With Prado at third we would have one of the top 3 third baseman in the NL and we would have to find an outfielder. There are a whole lot more outfielders out there than third baseman especially if we are talking about guys with a decent bat.

        • Trey Peters-Peters

          Agreed. Prado is the next 3B. What is this “theres no guarantee Simmons will be back this year?” It’s only going to be 6-weeks max before he’s back so I dont know where youre getting the doom-and-gloom outlook on him. Yeah, we need a stop-gap to replace him for that time but not something that is a major issue. The biggest problem is the back end of the rotation and bullpen. Need to pony up and go get Dempster or Greinke

          • aRunning_Maniac

            From what I’ve seen, for these injuries to heal, it takes more time than what you’re citing. With my free time, I box quite a bit, and I know a number of guys that have had metacarpal fractures (“Boxer’s Fracture”). All of them but one required surgery, and the recovery time for all (except the one) were about 4 months. If Simmons does not require surgery, he may be able to return within the timetable that you have given, but even so, he won’t be at 100%, as these injuries tend to linger for some time after the initial recovery time. With that said, these guys do have access to some wonderful medical/physical specialists, and I’m sure Simmons will be provided great care. Pujols was able to return to play from a fractured wrist after only two weeks, so there may be reason to believe Simmons could return sooner rather than later. However, Pujols’ body type is entirely different from Simmons’ and their ability to heal may be nothing alike. I do hope Simmons makes a speedy recovery, and that he doesn’t require surgery… but if he does, I’m afraid our future star SS may not return this season.

          • Carlos Collazo

            I don’t think surgery has even been mentioned at this point. We will have to wait and see. Also, thanks to all of you guys who are commenting. The best reward for writing is hearing what people think of what I have to say, and everything about the Braves. I really appreciate it.

          • aRunning_Maniac

            I believe David O’Brien of the AJC mentioned it as a possibility, but didn’t go any further than that. As you said, we’re just going to have to wait and hope for the best. Once the cast is removed, they will have good idea of whether or not he’s going to require surgery. If the fracture has not shown significant improvement, or if there’s severe angulation, (i.e. the metacarpal is misaligned badly) Simmons will in all likelihood need to have surgery. This would entail having pins placed into the bone so that it can be realigned properly. Depending on the individual’s age and body makeup, it can take 12-14 weeks to recover from the surgery, plus another 2-3 weeks of physical therapy. Whether Wren and Gonzalez would allow Simmons to attempt to return to the field after surgery, I don’t know… I would have my doubts, given Gonzalez’s timid ways. But hey, who knows, right? Again, let’s just hope the guy doesn’t need surgery.

            And yeah, no problem, man. It’s always nice to chat with other baseball fans.

      • Bob Long

        Rather than go for Drew, who is all glove and no bat like Jack Wilson, I’d rather target Willie Bloomquist who has a $1.9M contract for next year. He can hit and plays 2nd, short and corner outfield. He would be the perfect utility infielder/outfielder for next year, rather than a no-hit Wilson or Drew.

        • aRunning_Maniac

          I would hardly say Drew is all glove and no bat, and I would certainly not compare him to the likes of Jack Wilson. Drew is a solid hitter, just check out his previous seasons’ stats and you’ll see. I would still prefer Drew, a proven starting SS, over Bloomquist, but if Drew is not available or if Arizona were to ask for too much, I think Bloomquist would be a nice alternative.

  • Admiral

    Martin Prado has been tied to every Upton rumor I’ve read. At first, I hated that – I LOVE Prado, as does any sensible Braves fan. But then I started thinking….why not? As you said, Upton is one of the top 5 players under 25. Prado is probably at his peak – and while Upton has had some great years, by all accounts he hasn’t even hit his stride yet.

    This solves a long term left field power issue, and does it relatively cheaply. We haven’t had a big masher in the outfield in a while…and while I’d hate to see Prado leave, this is the one trade involving him I’d be able to swallow.

    We sold high on Omar Infante (and while Sluggla isn’t doing much now, it’s still a great trade) – so why not on Prado?

    • Carlos Collazo

      Prado is one of my favorite players on the team as well and him at third base for a while sounds too good to me to trade him. Like I have said before, sure I would trade Prado for Upton straight up, who wouldn’t? But the price is not going to be Martin Prado for Justin Upton, it is going to be higher and because of that I would rather just let some other team go after him.

      • Admiral

        The price would likely be Prado and Teheran, which IS a price worth paying.

        • aRunning_Maniac

          While I don’t see Arizona trading Upton (if they do, they need their heads thoroughly examined), I would have to agree that this would be a worthy trade. I don’t see us acquiring Greinke, so that essentially eliminates the notion that we’re going to deal Minor, Delgado, or Gilmartin. Dempster, who I believe is going to be our prime target (once Wren fully understands what Greinke will cost) can be acquired without giving up any of those arms. So, if we still had the aforementioned guys, I wouldn’t have a problem trading Teheran. Teheran, who may very well be a great pitcher in the future, I still don’t believe he’s ever going to be that ace that everyone projected him to be. He’s losing value as each season passes, and for someone like Upton, it would be a no-brainer in dealing him along with Prado. If Arizona were to ask for anything more than that, though… no deal.

          • Carlos Collazo

            I also don’t think Teheran is this sure fire ace every one is saying. Also, the price for Justin Upton is not going to be Martin Prado and Julio Teheran. It will be more than that. And if not the GM in Arizona deserves to be fired.

          • aRunning_Maniac

            Oh yeah, no doubt, I was speaking hypotheticals. I can’t see them only asking for Prado and Teheran. Just saying, I would go for that trade if Arizona was that reckless with Upton.

          • Carlos Collazo

            Same here.

  • aRunning_Maniac

    Well, Wilson is hurt… heh, now what?

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  • scorekeeper

    I agree that Prado would prove most valuable as the next 3B for the Braves. Don’t go trying to deal Prado. He already has experience, is a terrific fielder, and WE ALREADY HAVE HIM. Atlanta could have a stable middle infield except that a few unfortunate things happened all at once–Simmons AND Wilson injured while Uggla is in the slump. (I’m getting tired of watching that guy pop up and strikeout.) Assuming Bourn stays, the Braves need to look for another outfield bat. And if Diaz, Hinske, and Wilson aren’t cutting it, they could be put up for consideration. And Atlanta has Constanza for an extra outfielder.

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