Reports 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.