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Justin Upton Reportedly Traded to Braves from Diamondbacks

Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 24, 2013

In a move that was being rumored more and more each week since the winter meetings, the Arizona Diamondbacks decided to ship right fielder Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves

 

UPDATE: Thursday, Jan. 24, at 2:06 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

Braves superstar Craig Kimbrel spoke with Bleacher Report this afternoon on the blockbuster deal that brought Justin Upton to Atlanta. 

---End of update----

 

UPDATE: Thursday, Jan. 24, at 1:05 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

Justin Upton has officially been traded from Arizona to Atlanta, the league announced this afternoon on Twitter

OFFICIAL: @braves get Justin Upton & Chris Johnson from @dbacks for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Zeke Spruill, Nick Ahmed, Brandon Drury.

MLB (@MLB) January 24, 2013

---End of update---

 

The news originally came from CBS' Jon Heyman and Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:

#Diamondbacks, #Braves indeed in agreement on Upton trade, pending physicals, as @jonheymancbs said.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 24, 2013

MLB.com's Mark Bowman went on to report more details on the players involved in the blockbuster trade:

Source: Braves get Justin Upton and Chris Johnson from D-backs for Prado, Delgado, Ahmed and Spruill.

— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) January 24, 2013

Atlanta Journal Constitution's David O'Brien later reported an additional prospect, Brandon Drury, is also part of the deal:

in deal for Upton & 3B Chris Johnson, #Braves also gave up 20-yr-old 3B prospect Brandon Drury along with Prado, Delgado, Spruill and Ahmed

— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) January 24, 2013

The trade pairs Justin Upton with his older brother B.J. Upton, who the Braves signed to a five-year, $75 million deal at the end of November.

They'll be the only active brothers to play on the same team, and the first to do so since Jerry Hairston Jr. and Scott Hairston played for the Padres in 2010.

The trade gives the Braves one of the best, young outfields in MLB with the Uptons and 23-year-old gold glover Jason Heyward in right field.

Upton, who is owed $38.5 million over the next three years, was thought to be one of the most productive players on this winter's trade block, and we now know those inclinations were spot on. 

The 25-year-old had a disappointing 2012 season, although that's simply a relative term because he finished fourth in MVP voting the year before. 

His average (.280) and on-base percentage (.355) stayed fairly consistent with his 2011 season, but his power dropped off considerably. 

Upton's slugging percentage fell from .529 to .430, his OPS from .898 to .785, his home runs from 31 to 17 and his doubles from 39 to 24.

Nonetheless, it's still clear why the two-time All-Star was so highly coveted. 

First of all, he's still just 25 years old and already has 731 games and 3,030 plate appearances under his belt. Upton's unbelievable combination of talent, youth and veteran experience isn't common.

Additionally, the young star improved or stayed steady in several other aspects of his game.

His strikeout percentage rose from 18.7 to 19.3 percent, sure, but it was still a far cry from the anemic 26.6 level he was at in 2010 when he struck out 152 times in 133 games. Even more promising, Upton drew walks at tremendous pace and consequently compiled the best K/BB ratio (1.92) of his career. 

Moreover, he still proved to be a threat on the basepaths (18 steals in 26 tries), and for the second year in a row, he crossed the plate 100 times. 

The power decrease will undoubtedly cause fans of Upton's new squad to turn into Worrying Websters, but Upton is slowly transforming into the complete hitter many knew he would be when he entered the majors as a mere 19-year-old.

The Diamondbacks had plenty of flexibility in their outfield after acquiring Cody Ross on the free agent market.  Jason Kubel, Gerardo Parra and Ross left Upton as the odd-man out with a big contract.

Utility man Martin Prado brings Arizona plenty of flexibility as he has played second, short, third and first as well as all the outfield positions in his career.  He's also a reliable bat, posting a career .295 average.

Right-hander Randall Delgado, 22, is the other big part of this trade for Arizona.  He went 4-9 with a 4.37 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 76 strikeouts in 92.2 innings last season, his first full year at the major league level. Prior to last season, he was ranked as the 46th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America.

 

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