Eight weeks after signing B.J. Upton to the biggest free-agent contract in franchise history, the Braves are trying to land his brother, Arizona's Justin Upton, in a trade that could give them one of baseball's most dynamic outfields with a pair of Uptons and Jason Heyward.
The trade offer, which was being considered by the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night, was believed to include either of the Braves young starting pitchers Julio Teheran (most likely) or Randall Delgado, plus at least two other lesser players or prospects.
Shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed and Evan Gattis, a catcher-turned-left fielder who has slugged himself into prospect status despite his relatively advanced age (26), were possibilities for inclusion along with a few Braves pitching prospects. Potential future ace J.R. Graham wasn't believed to be involved.
A person familiar with the situation said the Braves made the offer Wednesday for Upton, 25, a two-time All-Star who was fourth in the National League MVP balloting two years ago, when he hit .289 with 31 homers and 88 RBIs and won the Fielding Bible Award as the best defensive right fielder in the majors.
The Diamondbacks were also reportedly considering an offer from Baltimore for outfielder Jason Kubel, and were expected to trade only one, Upton or Kubel. Arizona general manager Kevin Towers has been dangling Upton in trade discussions off and on for two years and some believe he needs to trade Upton because of the awkward situation that's created. Towers is leaving the country on a vacation Friday and might pull the trigger on a deal before then.
Upton is under contract through 2015 and owed $38.5 million, including $9.75 million in 2013, $14.25M in 2014 and $14.5M in 2015. The Braves should have room in their payroll for his salary without needing to move another salary, since they've committed about $85 million to players for next season and have set $98 million as their ceiling.
Heyward won the Fielding Bible Award this past season after finishing second to Upton in 2011. Heyward would stay in right field and Justin Upton would move to left field if traded to the Braves, who will have B.J. Upton in center. That trio might reasonably be expected to produce 80-90 home runs and 75 stolen bases between them.
Braves make offer for Arizona's Upton
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Jan 24