The Justin Upton Trade: Reaction & Analysis

Justin Upton's future has been the source of great speculation all winter, and now that the Diamondbacks have moved the outfielder to Atlanta as the centerpiece of a seven-player deal, the move has already generated a lot of buzz from around the baseball world.  Here are some reactions to the deal, some background, and how the Braves and D'Backs will be affected…

  • Upton's "quiet intensity" may have been the key reason behind Arizona's eagerness to trade him, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes.  “The problem is that [Upton] didn’t play with a high level of energy,” a former Upton teammate told Rosenthal. “What I think they want is guys who play with the speed, energy and intensity of the Oregon football team — all out, all the time.  Justin doesn’t have that kind of attitude….He plays hard, but has to look suave doing it. Slamming into walls isn’t his thing, and they will accept nothing short of all-out sacrifice for the team.”
  • D'Backs GM Kevin Towers told reporters (including Yahoo's Jeff Passan and MLB.com's Steve Gilbert) that it's "accurate" that he and manager Kirk Gibson want a grinding-style of team since "that's the way Gibby played the game."  Gibson, however, said that while he is "100 percent on board" with the move, he also lobbied to keep Upton. 
  • Had the Braves not been able to acquire Upton, they would have looked to re-sign Michael Bourn, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link).
  • Also from Nightengale, he hears from a rival scouting director that the addition of Nick Ahmed gives the D'Backs three of the top 15 shortstop prospects in the game. (Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings are the other two players.)
  • Larry Reynolds, Upton's agent, talked to Towers following the season about a potential deal, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports.  “We never demanded a trade, but there were discussions between Kevin Towers and myself about the possibility of trading Justin between the end of the season and the trade,” Reynolds said. “I have a good relationship with K.T., so those discussions were amicable.”
  • Both teams did well in the trade, opines Fangraphs' Dave Cameron.
  • MLB.com's Matthew Leach and ESPN's Keith Law both think the deal is a win for the Braves.  Leach praises the Braves for getting Upton without losing any hard-to-replace prospects, while Law criticizes the D'Backs for just getting "about 50 cents on the dollar" in return.  In reference to the Trevor Bauer trade, Law writes that "for the second time this offseason, they've [Arizona] made such a deal and taken less than full value in return for a player the whole industry knew the team wanted to move."
  • Seven team executives and scouts tell ESPN's Jayson Stark that there are some concerns about the Upton brothers' perceived attitude problems and how the Braves have lost an important clubhouse leader in Martin Prado.  That said, six of the seven thought the deal was a great move for Atlanta since it gives them a potential superstar outfield between the Uptons and Jason Heyward.  "If somebody had said three years ago that you could have those three guys in the same outfield, people would have been going nuts, right?" a scout said.
  • Rival executives feel that the D'Backs "squandered a lot of value this winter" but look to be a good team in 2013, ESPN's Buster Olney reports.  Prado is "a perfect fit" for Arizona both on and off the field (Twitter links).
  • Upton and Braves GM Frank Wren discussed the trade in a conference call with reporters, including MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith.

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