Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
The Diamondbacks logjam is over, with Justin Upton going to Atlanta to join his brother in a revamped outfield.
The Atlanta Braves spent a lot of money to bring in B.J. Upton this offseason, and on Thursday they added Justin Upton for a lot of talent. If you're wondering about Chico Upton and the one with the bike horn, they probably aren't ready for the majors.
In return, the Diamondbacks will receive Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Nick Ahmed, and Zeke Spruill. We'll start there. Delgado was, not so long ago, one of the top prospects in baseball, and then he made that awkward transition to not-quite-good, no-longer-a-prospect that makes him harder to evaluate. When a young flamethrower is a prospect, he's a perfect little pearl, who will come right up and dominate! When he struggles a bit in the majors, it's a little harder to be so convinced about the inevitability of success.
But he's still got the arm that made him a prospect in the first place. It's tempting to suggest Prado is the centerpiece, but he's a free agent after this season. So Delgado probably was the big get for the Diamondbacks.
Ahmed is a young shortstop. Was worried the Diamondbacks wouldn't get one of those this offseason! He didn't make the Braves' top-10 prospect list for Baseball America, but he hit .269/.337/.391 in High-A this year as a 22-year-old. Spruill was #9 on that Baseball America list, and he's a tall, 23-year-old right-hander who hasn't quite figured out how to miss bats yet.
The Braves get Chris Johnson, who is kind of the Pedro Feliz of third base, if you can imagine such a thing. Oh, and Justin Upton, who is the big deal in all of this.
Short analysis: Man, oh man, did Upton's distaste for Seattle end up hosing the Diamondbacks. That reported package was a lot more impressive.
More short analysis: The Diamondbacks are gambling an awful lot on Delgado, but the odds are decent that they'll be worse in 2014 and 2015 if Prado leaves as a free agent. They had Upton for the next three years at a much lower salary than he would get on the open market. I think in a year, the Diamondbacks will regret this deal, especially if they can't re-sign Prado.
Still more short analysis: For 2013, though, the Diamondbacks filled a third-base hole with a pretty good player in Prado, and they still have a good outfield. That might almost qualify as an improvement in the short-term. Just ignore the once-every-other-decade-supposed-to-be-a-franchise-player guy going the other way. But there's every reason to think the Diamondbacks aren't convinced that Upton still is that franchise hitter, for whatever reason. He's still just 25, but his production is on an every-other-year track right now. Maybe it's the down years that are the real Upton.
Even more short analysis: Jose Altuve is on the Astros.
It's not a dull trade, that's for sure. The Diamondbacks traded a player they once considered untouchable. The Braves got a pair of supremely talented brothers roaming the outfield. And you thought the offseason was boring ...