Upton + Johnson Traded To Braves For Prado + 4: First Reaction

Mike Zarrilli

I slept the sleep of the dead last night. Or, at least, the sleep of the NyQuil-dosed - insert Dennis Leary rant here - as I attempt to shake off this cold before it embeds itself. I was woken by beeping on my phone, which I had forgotten to mute the night before

It was a message from the baseball league manager, Eric Simon, and I pretty much knew what it was about before even needing to read it. "Hey, Jim. Can we port an Upton news story to the Pit until your guys have a chance to write something on it?" Oh, alright. I suppose I'll get up then.

My first thoughts are that this is an odd combination of wanting to win now, and win down the road. Prado does certainly make us immediately better at third-base, but that will be largely, if not entirely and then some, offset by having Cody Ross in right-field instead of Justin Upton. There are some interesting young names in there: Delgado is obviously the pick of the bunch, and I'm curious to see where about he will fit in on the list of current pitching prospects owned by the D-backs. I'll have to do some digging around on the other two names, because I'm not very aware of their potential or readiness. Will get back to you on that...

For a trade like this, I like to head over to the opposition site, and see what they reckon to it, because they generally have a better immediate handle on their players than I can offer The main word at Talking Chop appears to be sadness at the loss of Martin Prado, clearly a much-loved member of the team. I think this could end up being the key for the trade, because Prado is slated to be a free-agent at the end of this season. Could we be looking at trying to extend him for a couple of years? He could fill holes at a number of positions, possibly even replacing Aaron Hill, if we can't extend him [though it has been a couple of years since Prado was a regular 2B]

They also seem generally glad to have held on to their top pitching prospect, Julio Teheran, and I must admit, Delgado appears not quite at the same level. But prospects are prospects, and forming such an significant part of the trade, it really means we likely won't be able to decide conclusively who "won" this, for several years. It does not appear to be as good a deal as the Upton-nixed one which was agreed with the Mariners, but that was widely regarded as an overpay. My immediate instinct is that it's probably close enough to fair value - but if Upton puts up an MVP caliber season in Atlanta, and Arizona's offense struggles....

On the purely emotional side, I can't honestly say I'm feeling a great deal, in part because there has been so much talk about a possible trade that I've already gone through the five stages of grief. My mental roster for the 2013 Diamondbacks didn't really have Upton present on it. I don't actually have many specific memories of Upton's time in Arizona: what comes to mind are some great plays in right-field, and utterly dominating plate-appearancxes, but also frustrating moments with both glove and bat, where it seemed like he was mentally checked out. I guess, if there was one word to sum up his time in Arizona, it would be "mercurial".

It's certainly the end of an era. More to follow, as we break down the deal from both ends.

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