Justin Upton: Why Atlanta Braves Are Best Fit for Outfielder

Marques Eversoll@MJEversollAnalyst IJanuary 14, 2013

All Justin Upton can do is sit and wait to hear where he'll be playing next season.
All Justin Upton can do is sit and wait to hear where he'll be playing next season.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Justin Upton recently used a clause in his contract to veto a potential trade to the Seattle Mariners.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, Arizona would have received shortstop Nick Franklin, left-handed pitcher Charlie Furbush and right-handed pitchers Stephen Pryor and Taijuan Walker.

With the Mariners no longer a threat to land Upton, the Atlanta Braves could make a serious play for him. And of all of the teams interested in the 25-year-old outfielder, Atlanta may be the best fit.

The Braves could match a similar prospect-heavy deal in exchange for Upton. Atlanta has a plethora of talented pitchers in its system, including J.R. Graham, Luis Avilan, Jordan Walden and Julio Teheran.

Shortstop Nick Ahmed could also be a key figure in a potential Upton deal.

Acquiring Justin would mean that both Upton brothers would be playing in Atlanta. Justin's brother, B.J., signed with the Braves this offseason for five years and $75 million. Adding Justin to an outfield that already boats B.J. and young slugger Jason Heyward would give the Braves a three-headed monster.

Upton is entering the prime of his career. He finished fourth in the MVP voting in 2011 and was second in the NL in runs scored last season, finishing just behind Milwaukee's Ryan Braun.

But still, the Diamondbacks seem to be leaning toward trading the two-time All-Star outfielder. Adam Eaton has assumed the role as Arizona's leadoff hitter and center fielder, and Cody Ross was unexpectedly signed in December. With Ross and Eaton in the fold, speculation ensued on what would be to come for Upton and Jason Kubel.

A.J. Pollack, the Diamondbacks' best young outfielder, appears ready for the majors, giving the Diamondbacks a reason to part ways with one or both of their veteran outfielders.

If Atlanta is able to add Upton, the Braves would likely have the best offensive outfield in Major League Baseball. The Upton brothers and Heyward would likely head the Braves' batting order, with first baseman Freddie Freeman as the cleanup hitter.

The top of that lineup would certainly give the Braves something to build upon after a successful 2012 season in which they finished 94-68, tied for the fourth-best record in baseball.

But the 2013 Atlanta Braves will be a different team. And if a trade involving Justin Upton goes through, the Braves could be an even better team.