justin uptonReports flying around this morning from a variety of sources say the Justin Upton deal is finally happening, pending physicals. He’s going to the Braves, together with decent third baseman Chris Johnson, in exchange for pitcher Randall Delgado (whom you may recall from the Ryan Dempster Trade Saga), Martin Prado, pitching prospect Zeke Spruill, and shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed. Buster Olney says the D-backs are also getting fringe prospect Brandon Drury, but others haven’t yet confirmed that one (and, frankly, his inclusion doesn’t really change the dynamic much).

My instant reaction is … that’s it? Seriously? Delgado is a very good pitching prospect, and Prado is a nice versatile player, but Spruill and Ahmed are merely fringe top 10 guys in the Braves’ system. And Prado’s a free agent after the year. Since Johnson has actual value, it looks like a really, really weak return for the Diamondbacks (particularly when compared to that failed Mariners deal, which, as I suggested it would, really undercut the offers the D-backs were going to receive).

Yes, the Cubs “could have beaten” this package, but the Diamondbacks wanted who they wanted, and the Cubs don’t have a Delgado. There’s also the matter of Upton’s no-trade clause, which allows him to block a deal to the Cubs. It’s interesting to have heard that the sticking point between the Cubs and D-backs was their insistence on the inclusion of Starlin Castro … I mean, Castro’s value faaaaaar outstrips the value of the package the D-backs received.

We’ll see how things shake out now across the league. The Diamondbacks may not deal another outfielder now, which could help Alfonso Soriano’s market. The Braves are out on Michael Bourn, though it sounds like the Rangers and Mets are emerging as favorites for him. The D-backs are once again loaded with pitching, so they may look to trade from a position of strength (hell, maybe they want to dangle Delgado to the Cubs, in whom everyone knows they have interest – though I couldn’t tell you what they’d want in return).

It will be very interesting to follow what this rather large domino falls into.

  • North Side Irish

    Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan
    Diamondbacks had offer with Mike Olt, a 3B they could’ve had for six years, from Rangers. Texas’ final deal did not include RHP Cody Buckel.

    You could argue that Olt is a more valuable piece than anyone the Braves offered.

    • Noah

      You could argue that Olt could be more valuable over the length of his available time than all of the players the D-Backs received combined. Olt could be a high walk rate, high power, great defense 3B. They’ll only get one year of Prado before he hits FA, Delgado should be a good middle of the rotation guy, but pitchers are more prone to injuries, and its unclear if the other players involved will ever contribute in the Majors. Of course we’ll have to wait 6 years to watch this play out, but it’s a distinct possibility.

    • Smitty

      They were clearly looking for pitching to go along with a 3rd base prospect. Who would have gone along with Olt?

  • JR

    Damn Arizona you are crazy stupid… I would still love to know why the Dbacks were so dead set on trading Upton. It seems absolutely stupid from the outside looking in. I guess we’ll never know the real truth.

    • CubFan Paul

      SALARY DUMP. Arizona could no longer afford Upton ($12.8M AAV) going into 2013 because catcher Miguel Montero’s $12M AAV contract kicks in this year. The 29 other GMs knew this also.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Then why didn’t another team step in with a better offer? This was easy to beat, and Upton is attractive even at that price. Hell, even the Cubs wanted him. I think the D-backs really liked the package, for whatever reason.

        • ETS

          Towers said he wanted to get the deal done before he went on vacation. I hope he enjoys his well earned break.

        • CubFan Paul

          The numbers don’t lie. Arizona replaced Upton’s salary with Kubel’s & Ross’ and extended Montero. Upton’s salary had to be shed.

          • Voice of Reason

            Obviously Justin Upton is trouble.

            Why would Arizona go out and sign Cody Ross when they had Upton? Then they turn around and trade Upton?

            It doesn’t add up. You just don’t trade a guy at his age with the rare combination of power and speed!

            Someone said it was a salary dump? It wasn’t a salary dump. The Diamondbacks got rid of a bad apple!

            • Good Captain

              Like you, I think there’s more to this than salary. From what I’ve read here and elsewhere, the D-backs have been looking to move him for something approaching 2 years. Surely they haven’t been looking to this day and for the past two years, can they?

            • terencem

              If a player who plays through an injury because he feels his team needs him is “trouble” then sign me up for some troubled players.

              • Voice of Reason

                Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez were known to play through injuries!

                I guess you’d like to have them back for second times!

                • hansman1982

                  I would take a team of 25 Aramis Ramirezi and their terrible attitudes over a team of 25 Darwin Barney and their “winning” attitudes any time, all of the time.

        • King Jeff

          They must be really high on Randall Delgado. This isn’t really even close to matching the Seattle offer.

          • CubFan Paul

            Or they might plan on flipping Delgado for more pieces because once again Delgado is blocked from the majors by others. ARZ doesn’t need him.

  • Petrowsky

    All I can say is wow. This is about half of the package I would have expected the Dbacks to receive. While there is some players in this trade, I cant believe that there isn’t one more decent prospect involved. Especially when you consider that the Braves have a nice minor league system. Even if the Cubs don’t have the pitching prospects needed, I am sure that the Cubs could have added better fielding prospects that would have made the Dbacks feel like they were getting a better deal. I understand the no trade list, but this seems like a win for the Braves

    • http://bleachernation.com hutch

      what players could the cubs have offered that would have been better than prado. Hes a proven major league hitter. We would have had to gut the system for him and for the dbacks theres no gaurentee that any prospect they get back can hit major league piching. Prado can. We re we gonna trade castro.? Prado is better than anyone we could trade besides rizzo and castro. Also we have no pitching prospects worth anything right now.

      • terencem

        Arizona walked away from the Cubs because the Cubs wouldn’t give up Castro. There really wasn’t anything the Cubs could give them in the end if that was the case.

  • Bigg J

    So even with the Hairston signing, how likely is it the Cubs go after Bourn for 1 yr?

    • yield51

      I could see this happening if the Cubs can get the value they want from Soriano. Bourn could be signed for around $15M on a one year deal with the promise of not extending a qualifying offer next offseason if he is still a Cub. He could then go into next off season without the compensation tied to him, and get one last 3-4 year deal. If Cubs are out of contention in July flip him and eat some of what’s left on his contract for a player better than the pick they lost signing him. This does little to help the current 40 man, but would help to reload the system a bit, and make next year more exciting.

      LF DeJesus/Hairston
      CF Bourn
      RF Schierholtz/Sappelt

      • Voice of Reason

        With that outfield we will definitely be out of contention by July!


        • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          Well, that is what is out there. You wanted us to sign people. That is what was available. You can’t complain, when they do what you want. That is what people don’t realize. They think the owners are being cheap. They are signing people when it is available at a price that isn’t overvaluing talent.

          • http://Isa Voice of reason

            I didn’t want them to sign anyone.

            I wanted the kids to play so we can evaluate them over an entire season.

            This team will lose about 100 games again. What difference will Hairston make? Maybe they win 2 more games? Big deal. They should be letting the kids get the at bats so we can see who will be with us the next time we are competitive.

            • hansman1982

              If yo uwant the Cubs to “play the kids” that were in the system you’d see 120 losses not just 100.

              That is effectively what the Cubs did from August 1 to the end of the season when they were on pace to lose 114 games over a full season. That is epically bad and would damage the franchise for multiple seasons.

    • terencem

      If Bourn’s demands fall, a you could see teams a lot more competitive than the Cubs interested and I think that really hurts the Cubs chances.

  • Rich

    Please tell me what you guys think of Olt..and any chance we can get hm.

    • Noah

      Won’t hit for huge average, but should walk enough to post a solid OBP (could spend much of career above .350) and should hit for above average power for the position while being an above average glove at the position. The only way the Cubs get him is if Garza is the premier SP on the trade market mid-season and the Rangers really feel they need Garza. And even then the Rangers would probably be reticent to have Olt headline that trade. But the Rangers’ one issue is that Olt is blocked by Beltre at his best position.

  • King Jeff

    Wow, so Upton’s value isn’t really that much higher than Ryan Dempster.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      A half season of Dempster, at that.

    • http://bleachernation.com hutch

      Way higher than dempster. Prado is a really good player and can play all over the field

      • King Jeff

        They also got Chris Johnson in return, and he’s a pretty good third baseman. Someone I wish that the Cubs had at the least.

  • Rizzofanclub

    This was a weak return for Arizona but look at it this way Arizona is in it to win it this year and they felt Upton needed to go. Prado is a solid player and Delgado comes in and starts. The question cubs fans need to think would you of traded Baez and Samarz (include lower prospects) for Upton. That would be the offer the cubs would of had to made and I would of done it in a heartbeat.

    • Scott K

      People, look at his splits! Upton is no more than mediocre away from AZ:

      Anyone who traded for him was taking a huge risk that he will replicate his AZ numbers in his new home park, because if he doesn’t, that’s a lot to pay a guy with an OPS of .731. Lucky for the Braves, his Turner Field numbers look good. Can he sustain them?

      I’m definitely on the Towers is an idiot train, but this board WAY overvalues Upton. Unless Delgado blows up, this trade seems pretty even. Not as good as the Mariners deal obviously, but fine.

      • terencem

        Look at Matt Holliday’s splits when he played Colorado. Plenty of good players have weird splits.

        • Noah

          Most players are better at home than away. You’d actually expect a severe split to be the case in the NL West for players for Arizona or Colorado. They play nearly half of their away games at Petco (extreme pitchers park), AT&T (strong pitchers park for anyone but left handed power hitters) and Chavez Ravine (strong pitchers park for night games, which the vast majority of Dodgers games are).

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Arizona’s park should be pretty good for pitchers, too. They play at sea-level in very dry air. That’s pretty much the maximum barometric pressure under which you will hit a ball.

            • hansman1982

              It’s not, though.

              From 2006-2011 it was the 2nd best hitters park in baseball according to Fangraphs park factor. One caveat is that it is a ridiculous triples park (126 (on a similar scale to OPS/ERA+) if I remember correctly) but still hitter friendly without the triples.

        • Scott K

          Except for one year, Holliday was excellent both at home and away while he was with the Rockies.

      • Edwin

        I think this is what Noah is talking about:


        It’s a good read.

  • ETS

    so does this mean at the last trade deadline we could have done Dempster for upton? Because apparently Dempster for Delgato was a thing.

  • EB

    Wow this absolutely blows my mind. That is such a weak package for Upton

  • ETS

    so here’s where there’s some trickle down effect that ultimately leads to sori getting traded, right?

  • Edgar

    Brett or Luke, what do you guys think about Ryan wheeler? Good trade option for the cubs or not? I know he was called up last season and they could be pulling a rizzo and keep him for next year since prado is a free agent

  • North Side Irish

    Teddy Mitrosilis ‏@TMitrosilis
    Among qualified OF in last 3 seasons, Justin Upton at 11.9 WAR. Martin Prado at 11.8. Age/contracts matter. #Braves #dbacks
    Retweeted by Buster Olney

    I still love the deal for ATL, but I had no clue these two were so close. But with Prado a FA after this season, I can’t imagine that AZ couldn’t get a better deal.

    • terencem

      Prado has only been better than Upton in the years when Upton was playing with injuries.

  • Stu

    The Upton trade and the signing of Hairston and the roster at 42 may mean the end of Soriano. How many right handed power hitters are left on the market?

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Anyone know how much Prado was making? I was under the impression that ATL couldn’t afford upton?

  • blublud

    Maybe Upton just wanted to go to the Braves. But unless the DBacks were doing him a favor(I highly doubt this) then they must really like this package. The Cubs could have offered Shark and Baez alone and blown this package out the Water IMO. Castro as being more valuable then Upton is a stretch. Castro may have more room for growth and will probably be better eventually, but Upton is already the better player, so Castro would have to play catch up.

    I am starting to feel like something is going to happen with the Cubs and a trade. I don’t think it’s Soriano though. I doubt it’s Garza either, but he, Marmol and Dejesus is all I can think of. Unless we have a package of Lake, Szczur, Watkins, Vitters, Rondon, Vizcaino, Whitenack or Dolis of some sort going somewhere.

    • Bigg J

      That is why I feel it is taking so long to DFA someone because the Cubs are looking to trade some of the 40 man. It was a pretty easy Campana for Vill swap, but why is it taking this long? That’s got to be the only reason.

      • Blublud

        Campana would not have been DFA’d for Vill, but maybe for Hairston.

    • bbmoney

      Castro signed through 2019 (option for 2020) for 60M >> than Upton through 2015 for ~40M. Those 4 extra years are a big deal.

  • Bigg J

    So since Olt stayed in Texas is there still a strong possiblity that if Garza is healthy that he will be moved for Olt?

    • Voice of Reason

      Olt for Garza won’t happen!

      First of all Garza is in the last year of his contract and coming off arm issues. Teams are going to want to see him pitch before trading for him. Each start that goes by lessens his value because he will be a free agent at the end of the year.

      The injury and the free agency combination means Olt won’t happen for Garza! They might be able to move him to Texas for someone else, but it won’t be Olt.

      Olt for Garza may have happened this offseason if Garza wasn’t coming off the arm trouble.

      If the Rangers wanted to move Olt for a starter they could do much better than Garza because of reasons I mentioned with Garza.

      • yield51

        You have mentioned this several times before. You are undervaluing Garza, and overvaluing Olt. The Rangers would make this swap today, without Garza even pitching, if the medicals come back clean. Olt is a nice prospect who will turn 25 next season, he is not that special of a player.

        • Voice of Reason

          Not that special?

          He is the Rangers #2 prospect and #17 in all of baseball.

          To me that’s a special player!

          And…. there is NO WAY that the Rangers trade Olt for Garza today. Without question, absolutely without a doubt, no way!!

          • Sandberg

            Your point is proven, because the Rangers haven’t traded Olt for Garza.

            • yield51

              Where have you heard that the Cubs would approve of such a trade? I heard rumors earlier in the offseason, but I never heard it was a straight swap.

              • Sandberg

                I am sorry, that hasn’t happened. I said that because of an old inside joke (based on Cesar Izturis). Lame of me to post it, but I couldn’t help myself.

          • http://bleachernation.com hutch

            hes 25 and still hasnt done anything in the majors. Garzas hurt but is a proven player. Get off olts nuts he hasnt done anything to prove hes gonna be a great player. theres hundreds of prospects who are highly rated that never do anything

  • http://www.backingthepack.com Rynomite

    BBREF WAR #s over the last 4 years: Prado 14.9 > Upton 13.

    Obviously Upton is under control for more years and the Braves got a decent 3B in Johnson, but if Delgado becomes a 1,2, or 3 starter, the DBacks did just fine, especially since they were trading from the OF, where they had a surplus, and trading someone that apparently didn’t have the best relationship with the manager.

  • ibcnu2222 (John)

    Brett, What Cubs prospects would compare to what was sent to the Dbags?

    • Bigg J

      Brett don’t do it!!! You know what happened last time you compared players!!!

    • Noah

      The Cubs don’t really have anyone comparable to either Prado (a guy who can handle the corner outfield spots, 3B and 2B defensively and have his bat play at all positions near the end of his arbitration years) or Delgado (MLB ready starting pitcher with floor of a 5th starter and ceiling in the mid-rotation range). Prado is essentially the wealthy man’s Mark DeRosa.

      The Cubs could put together a package that some would view as more valuable. Baez has a much higher ceiling than either Prado or Delgado. But as far as guys who are similar or could have helped the D-Backs’ MLB club, the Cubs don’t have much that would have interested the D-Backs outside of Samardzija, Castro and Rizzo.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        What about Bizzaro Aaron Miles?

  • Big Daddy

    I wonder why AZ was so hell bent to get rid of Upton. There has to be something wrong there, but the Braves usually know what they are doing in these trades. I want to see how this plays out for both teams this year before making any judgments. I do think this was fair for both sides. What about Campana, Rusin, and Raley for Delgado?

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Wow. Kevin Towers is definitely the burnt out bulb in the box.

  • Kevin

    What if the Braves signed Bourn to a team freindly one year contrcat, this way they will be able to trade him and get more in value back than a supplimental pick in next years draft.

    • Bigg J

      Sign and trades only happen in the NBA lol. If teams don’t want to give up a potential 1st round pick, they deffinately arn’t going to offer good prosepcts moving their way up the system

    • bbmoney

      Can’t trade someone until 6 months after you sign them. Unless the player gives written consent….and Bourn wouldn’t do that, because then he’d just sign a friendly deal elsewhere (if it comes down to that) so he can dictate where he plays.

      • Kevin

        or doesn’t play…….

  • Dumpgobbler

    I think this deal is closer then what people are giving it credit for. I think ATL won, but I dont feel as though the Dbacks were robbed. Prado is a DeRosa elite; a very valuable piece. Delgado and Spurill are good young arms. Ahmed could become something really nice.

  • When the Music’s Over

    Why is everyone so through the roof high on Olt, but want to simultaneously burn Vitters at the stake?

    Olt went through AA two years later than Vitters (Olt is exactly one year older than Vitters-to the day). If Vitters stayed at AA in 2012, and was sent back to repeat AA yet again this upcoming year, you could adequately compare Olt’s 2012 AA number to Vitter’s 2013 AA numbers (I imagine Vitters would absolutely mash AA this year if that was the case). Also, both of them struggled very badly during their MLB call-ups last year, albeit Vitters had roughly 2.5x the ABs.

    I understand Olt plays better defense and has a better OBP, but I certainly don’t think he should be viewed as a crown jewel while Vitters gets tossed into the garbage heap.

    • http://Isa Voice of reason

      Vitters destiny is the outfield. He is not a major league third baseman.

      And, then he has to prove he can hit!

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Hitting is not Vitters problem. Distinguishing a good pitch to hit and a bat pitch to hit when the ball is 10′ from the pitchers hand is his problem.

        • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

          He’s made significant progress in that department in recent years. His BB rate last season was 6.5%. Average is 8%.

          He’s gone from awful to merely below-average in that regard.

        • http://Isa Voice of reason


          What in the world does that mean? Distinguishing which pitch to hit is part of the art of hitting. You say he can’t distinguish a good pitch from a bad pitch. That would then make him a bad hitter.

          If that was the difference then I’m a good hitter, too. And so are you! All we have to

          When does hitting become hitting in your opinion?

  • Cub Fan Dan

    Prado getting an extension, this deal makes a lot more sense for the D-backs.

    #Dbacks expect to sign new 3B Prado, a free agent after 2013, to long-term extension in the near future, source said. Only way deal was made

  • Curt

    really weak I’d say, I thought they’d for sure get Julio Tehran .

  • Mac

    How awesome to play along side your brother in the majors

    • RoughRider

      Like the Alou’s.
      Matty, Felipe & Jesus.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        It’s a double delight for the Upton parents. Their father at least was absolutely livid about the propaganda concerning Justin’s personality that the DBacks FO and Arizona sports media invented.

  • Southern Cub

    FWIW,David O’Brien from AJC saying that 20 yr 3B prospect Brandon Drury is also included in the deal for Upton.

  • Mac

    Now the Dbacks are trying to flip Ahmed and some pitching for Porcello

  • North Side Irish

    @BNightengale: #Dbacks will now try to package SS Nick Ahmed and pitching prospect in trade for Tigers Rick Porcello,one NL official says

  • Beer Baron

    This really makes me scratch my head following the Trevor Bauer trade. If they had a surplus of young pitchers, then fine trade one away (although they should gotten a lot more for a prospect of Bauer’s caliber). But now a month later they trade their only all-star player for another young pitcher, despite still having a surplus, and the one they got is widely viewed as a lesser prospect than Bauer. Just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Lou

      I’ll second that. Weird indeed.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The DBacks FO recognizes two types of personalities: non and troubled! Or, as Keith Law put it, they mistake thinking for bad attitude.

      • Lou

        So, it’s sort of like Kevin Towers mind control 😉

        • DocPeterWimsey

          heh, if trying to hit an “off” switch qualifies as control, then sure!

          • Lou