Braves Acquire Justin Upton

What the heck? Is it the winter meetings again?

The Diamondbacks have finally traded Justin Upton. He and Chris Johnson go to Atlanta in return for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, minor league shortstop Nick Ahmed, pitcher Zeke Spruill and third baseman Brandon Drury.

Wow.

First things first: the Mets were never going to put together a package like that for Upton. They simply cannot afford to send away that much volume.

Now, in terms of the deal, this makes plenty of sense for the Braves. Prado is the best player they gave away, and I believe he’ll be missed; he’s one of those “ballplayers” who does all the little things that lead to winning. He’s also an excellent hitter. But you have to give something to get something, and the Braves got something pretty good.

People are mixed about Upton – some say he’s a has-been, others say he’s on the cusp of greatness. I lean toward the latter. I don’t know that he’ll become a superstar, but considering he’s only 25, I’m betting he’ll put up numbers that are close to All-Star caliber over the next five years.

Further, don’t underestimate the acquisition of Chris Johnson. He quietly steps into the 3B hole left behind by the retired Chipper Jones, and he’ll be a solid if unspectacular replacement. He won’t hit 30 homers but he’ll probably hit about 15, maybe 20, and bat around .270-.280 — which is all the Braves will need with their suddenly potent lineup. Johnson needs to jack up his OBP and his defense absolutely has to improve, but he seems to be the type of player who works hard and can become at least adequate defensively. He and lefthanded-hitting Juan Francisco may prove to be a powerful platoon at 3B. Together, it’s realistic to expect the duo to provide 30+ homers — not too shabby.

Sound off in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Mike B January 24, 2013 at 12:14 pm
    Well what can you say, we all new the Mets need to build up their farm system for another 3 years before a trade like this to happen. I wouldnt dare compare the Mets to a big markey team from Georgia. I can only dream what the Uptons would have done to the lineup and the OF for this team. At least they didnt re sign Harriston.

    Michael Bourn is not even close to the answer, That being said I think the Mets have to sign him. 3-4 years at whatever it is, even if you have to over pay. They need a legitimate MLB player in their OF.

  2. DaveSchneck January 24, 2013 at 1:12 pm
    Ouch. This one hurts from my limited perspective. I understand the Mets building prospect depth, etc. but losing the Upton bidding to a divisional opponent that did not pay much bugs me. Prado is a good player but FA after 2013, so the Diamondbacks get one year of him. Delgado is not Teheran. Not sure on the other two, but if you take Johnson out of the trade, it looks to me like the Mets would have needed to send 3 players for Upton. Couldn’t Syndergaard, Flores, and Cecchini complete with the Brave offer? I guess not. Disappointing. I hope Alderson has a plan D. Bourn or Coco Crisp is the minimum for CF/leadoff…they need one of them plus a decent RH OF bat. Is Bernard Gilkey still playing?
  3. Izzy January 24, 2013 at 1:29 pm
    The Braves seem to have a pretty young and talented team. They have a bullpen that is as deep as any in the game. They have a lot of youth throughout. They seem set for years to come…..again. Same with the Nats. A little older on offense but a young rotation with young relievers now anchored by a veteran. Sandy Alderson is going to have to make a lot more than one move a year to keep up with the younger aggressive, never satisfied GMs that now seem ready to rule the National League East for the foreseeable future. I agree tho that Prado is a very valuable player, but 2 Uptons, with Heyward, a great young first basemen and shortstop and on and on. Damn I hope they don’t win 14 in a row again or whatever the number was last time.
    • DaveSchneck January 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm
      Agreed 100%. The divisional competition is young and stacked, with their won highly rated prospects as well.
  4. Izzy January 24, 2013 at 1:42 pm
    The METS SIGNED A GUY!!!!!! Marcum. Why did he only pitch 120 innings last year? What’s wrong with him, that nobody else wanted the guy?
  5. argonbunnies January 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm
    Wow. Here I thought Towers was holding out for top value. Instead he got suckered into a pile of spare parts because the Braves threw in a useful veteran. Ugly.

    Let’s see, what would this have been in Mets players…

    Young starting pitcher with excellent odds to stick in the majors but long odds to be a difference-maker (Delgado). Well, at the beginning of 2011 that described Dillon Gee pretty well. Now? I dunno. McHugh? Syndergaard?

    Contact-hitting veteran who’s a good overall player (Prado). Well, we don’t have anyone like that at the moment. I guess the closest is Murphy, who’s worse but also cheaper and with more years of team control.

    Minor league SS (Ahmed) who still has a lot to prove. Hi, Wilfredo Tovar.

    Teenage 3B who’s been bad in pro ball (Drury). Hi, Phillip Evans.

    Finesse pitcher who can’t strike anyone out in AA (Spruill). Hi, Mark Cohoon.

    So, what the Braves did was kind of like if we traded Murphy, Tovar, Evans, Cohoon, and a good rookie pitcher… for Justin Upton and a replacement for Murphy. In other words, a total steal.

    Curse you, Kevin Towers…

    • Joe January 26, 2013 at 2:31 am
      But, would those players have the “attitude” Arizona supposedly wants?