After literally three years of rumors, it happened Thursday. The Arizona Diamondbacks have traded two-time All-Star outfielder Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves in a seven-player deal that sends former All-Star Martin Prado to the desert.
Expect a lot of reaction both on the airwaves of Arizona Sports 620 and here on ArizonaSports.com, but here's the quick gut reaction to the deal from some of the members of our staff.
Dave Burns, Co-host, Burns & Gambo
If the Diamondbacks traded the Justin Upton of a year ago, of 2010, then they probably got fair value. If the D-backs traded the Justin Upton of 2011, the who finished 4th in the MVP voting, then they got hosed. We're all waiting for Upton to become the transcendent player he is supposed to be and that's why the D-backs are dealing from a position of fear. If Upton reaches that potential, then the D-backs cannot possibly justify this deal and they'll get ripped. And frankly it's hard to look at the two assets the D-backs dealt this offseason (Upton and Trevor Bauer) and think they maximized their value.
I do believe the D-backs had no choice to deal him and frankly I wonder if that's just how Kevin Towers wanted it. The D-backs were painted into a corner; it would have been virtually impossible to bring him back. And I have a crazy conspiracy theory that KT willingly painted himself in that corner by signing Cody Ross and the never ending trade talk and speculation.
John Gambadoro, Co-host, Burns & Gambo
Like many trades, only time will tell if this one is a winner or a loser. Which Upton is Atlanta getting -- the one who was a MVP candidate in 2011 or the one that flopped last year? I think Upton will have a good career, not a great one. He will never live up to the #1 draft pick status and won't be a Bryce Harper or Mike Trout type. But he will be good and will help Atlanta. The key for Arizona is Prado. He is a terrific, versatile player who wears out pitchers, doesn't strike out much and for you stat geeks, check out his wins above replacement compared to Upton's. I have always liked Prado and the D-backs will announce a contract extension for him sometime in the next week because there is no way they made this deal without knowing they could lock him up long-term.
None of the prospects that Arizona got back are great, although I am intrigued by Nick Ahmed and see some real upside there. And it never hurts to have pitching prospects for future trades and they added a couple in this deal. And when it really get down to it, the time had come to move Upton. He had grown frustrated with all the trade talk, wasn't happy with Kirk Gibson and was disappointed in the fan base being negative towards him. He needed a change of scenery in the worst way, and now he has it.
Ron Wolfley, Co-host, Doug & Wolf
You had to get equal value in this trade and I don't think the D-backs got that. I can't stress enough that I don't THINK they got enough for Upton; only time will tell. I like Martin Prado -- if they can extend him beyond this year and believe he will stabilize the hot corner, but you got what appears to be a middle of the road starter (Randall Delgado), and prospects that may or may not pan out).
But make no mistake, I understand why they wanted Upton out of here. His mere presence created instability in the clubhouse. Even if he wasn't a "bad guy," when your star shines as brightly as Upton's does but gives off little heat, you become a distraction and serve no real purpose. Other players look at Upton and wonder why he doesn't produce the numbers that he should? And when that is happening it never has a positive impact in the clubhouse. Keep in mind when you evaluate a player you have to consider spirit, soul and body: you have to consider what he thinks and HOW he thinks, what he feels and how he acts, and what he does, how he produces. I don't think Justin Upton's "make-up" is a good "match-up" for his talent.
He was never a good fit for the Kirk Gibson/Kevin Towers Diamondbacks. The "Diamondback Way" is about getting the most out of your talent and Upton didn't do that. And this, more than anything else, got Upton out of here. We shall see, but I'm going to give Kevin Towers the benefit of the doubt. You don't attain the reputation Towers has in baseball by being duped on trades.
Adam Green, ArizonaSports.com
I gave Kevin Towers the benefit of the doubt with the Trevor Bauer trade in large part because I thought it meant Justin Upton wasn't going anywhere. Oops. While the D-backs may have netted some talented players, it's tough to see this as a good deal when Upton is at worst, a good player, and at best, possibly a great one. Could it work out for Arizona? Sure. Will it? I have serious, serious doubts.
Vince Marotta, ArizonaSports.com
I'm torn, but only because I'm glad the incessant Upton trade rumors are now history. I don't understand the concept of trading a 25-year-old star with superstar potential when he has three years left on his affordable contract. Martin Prado is a good player and supposedly a great clubhouse guy, but when these Upton rumors started three years ago, I'd have thought that the Diamondbacks would get a lot more in return than they did.