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In the grand scheme of professional baseball trading, waiting too long to trade a valuable prospect can reduce the value of a deal.
The logic is simple: the longer one team waits to trade one player, the greater chance its eventual trade partner will have already engaged in other trades across baseball, effectively taking a greater number of players off the table as prospects are dealt and newcomers are deemed off-limits.
Consider the Atlanta Braves, a club some believed could prove a fine match for Justin Upton.
Young Atlanta pitching includes Luis Avilan, J.R. Graham and Julio Teheran. Had the D'Backs dealt Upton prior to their A's and Indians-Reds deals, Braves shortstop Nick Ahmed could have become a solid pick-up at shortstop.
With the late 2012 deals in place—namely the acquisitions of Cliff Pennington and Didi Gregorius to provide support to veteran Willie Bloomquist—Arizona has already bulked up its shortstop position to a point where another player in that role may appear unnecessary.
With a lesser need for a prospect like Ahmed, Arizona has become less flexible in its ability to bargain—and that street runs both ways. Atlanta already acquired a bare minimum outfield this offseason in center fielders B.J. Upton and Jordan Shafer as backup, while Jason Heyward is expected to continue manning the line in right with Martin Prado in left.
Simply put, the longer Arizona waits to pull the trigger, the less likely a Justin Upton trade will occur and at this point in the proceedings, the Snakes have already waited a significantly lengthy amount of time.