Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

23 Jan

Where Do We Go From Here? 2012.6 Free Agency and Trades (by W.C.G.)

In The Signal and the Noise, Nate Silver looked at several different fields of prediction to illustrate both the power and the limits of trying to peer into the future. Some fields, like meteorology, have progressed to the point where you can know with reasonable accuracy what the weather in your town will be like in three days. Others, like seismology, can give you a rough sense of where an earthquake is more likely to happen at some point, but don’t offer much in the way of guidance in terms of exactly when and with what force that earthquake will strike.

We know the Braves have some money left to play with — as much as $14 million in the 2013 budget if DOB’s recent chat with Terry McGuirk is to be believed — but trying to figure out what they’re going to do with it is more a matter of seismology than meteorology.

“The U.S. Geological Service’s official position is that earthquakes cannot be predicted [a definitive and specific statement about when and where an earthquake will strike]. They can, however, be forecasted [a probabilistic statement, usually over a longer time scale].” — Silver, p. 149

Even if we can’t necessarily predict exactly who the Braves will acquire and when, we can forecast, based on what we know about how the Braves’ organization operates, some general ideas about what the team will seek to do with the remaining budget. In the era of limited budgets over the last decade, the Braves have seemed to abide by the following principles:

  • They’re OK going into a season with a question mark at a key position (think closer in 2006, 1B in 2007, CF in 2009 and 2011, or SS in 2012).
  • They’re also willing to admit a mistake and acquire a reinforcement via midseason trade if the question mark doesn’t pan out (think Wickman in 2006, Teixeira in 2007, McLouth in 2009, or Bourn in 2011).
  • They budget for question marks that weren’t necessarily apparent when the season started and acquire help as necessary (think LaRoche in 2009, or Maholm in 2012).
  • If a big-ticket player who fills a need becomes available via trade, they’re willing to pull the trigger (think Teixeira again, Hudson back in 2005, or Uggla in 2011).

So what will the Braves do? The first three principles seem to suggest that they’ll be happy to go into the season with the roster as-is, evaluate who is and is not working through the first half of the season, and acquire players as teams fall out of contention and become sellers. The last principle suggests that if a “home run” trade is available at the right price, the Braves will be in on it. There’s one on the board.

Justin Upton is exactly the sort of player a mid-market team like Atlanta would love to get in a trade: 25 years old, under team control at a reasonable salary (three more seasons at an average annual rate of $12.8MM), talent and tools that suggest MVP upside, and a situation with his current team that could lead to a trade for less than market value. The Diamondbacks have four starting outfielders and only three places to put them, Upton had a down year last year by his standards, they’ve already traded him to Seattle (and had the deal vetoed), and they’ve dismantled his fan section at their home park.

With spring training still a month away and the season still more than two months away, the Diamondbacks haven’t entertained any 60-cents-on-the-dollar offers yet. The Seattle trade was for premium talent, they’ve told the Cubs that Starlin Castro would have to be the centerpiece of a trade there, and they apparently want Andrelton Simmons from Atlanta. It’s safe to say that the Braves will not be trading six cost-controlled years of a potential Gold Glove shortstop for an expensive outfielder, even one of Upton’s considerable talent.

But ultimately, the Diamondbacks need to trade Upton more than the Braves need to trade for him, which is a nice position to be in. If Kevin Towers’ price for Upton drops — say, to Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran, a major-league relief pitcher, a minor-league infielder, and a low-minors lottery ticket — then the Braves should, and probably will, sign off on the deal.

The other name that keeps popping up as the offseason winds down is Michael Bourn. Perhaps because of his .225/.325/.311 second half last year, no one has given Bourn all of the money in free agency yet, and the list of potential suitors is dwindling to where a one-year, make-good contract is at least a possibility in play. If that happens, and if the price of Upton remains too high, another year of Bourn might be in order. They probably shouldn’t pay for too much more than that.

Unless a figurative earthquake hits out of the blue, if the Braves pass on both of those players they’re probably going into the season with the roster they have. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the only known question mark on the roster is whichever position between 3B and LF that Prado isn’t playing on a given day, there’s an in-house plan to cover that which might work, and the financial flexibility to address an injury or prolonged slump in mid-season is a major asset. The lists of remaining free agents at those positions don’t inspire spending money on anyone but bench bats. (I wouldn’t mind having Andruw back for cheap, though.)

Who becomes available is mostly a function of which teams fall out of contention at the time the Braves are looking to deal. This is a situation in which a forecast is more useful than a prediction; while Corey Hart, Alex Gordon, and Josh Willingham would all look good standing under the 755 Club, there’s no indication any of them are currently available. (And Hart will be out for a chunk of the first half, anyway.)

Alfonso Soriano probably is available on a Derek Lowe-style salary dump, but he’s signed for two years through his age-38 season, and you can expect the age cliff to hit any day now. Dexter Fowler is out there, but he’s a career .248/.331/.367 hitter away from Coors Field. I’d stay away. It’s unlikely, but if the Yankees want to rent out Curtis Granderson in the second half of the season, I’d listen. I’m sure someone in the comments will want to float Giancarlo Stanton’s name, but let’s be real: he’d cost the entire Braves’ farm system, the Falcons’ next three first-round draft picks, and the Sweetwater Brewery.

On that farm system: It seems clear that if and when the Braves do trade this year, they’ll do so out of pitching depth. The major league bullpen is stacked to the point that Cory Gearrin probably doesn’t have a spot right now, so everyone short of Craig Kimbrel is probably on the block. Between Delgado, Teheran, Sean Gilmartin, and Zeke Spruill, there’s enough top-flight pitching talent in the minors that they can probably swap one of them for a bat and not take too much of a hit in terms of organizational depth.

Overall, the Braves are in a pretty strong position going into the season for a mid-market team: in on trades but not necessarily desperate for one, with financial flexibility and organizational depth in the area teams covet most. They’ll make a move at some point, but at the moment they can wait for the deal to come to them.

225 Responses to “Where Do We Go From Here? 2012.6 Free Agency and Trades (by W.C.G.)”

  1. 1
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    This was written a day ago, before the current J. Upton rumors intensified.

  2. 2
    W.C.G. Says:

    I actually wrote pretty much all of this on Monday, so yeah. To extend the earthquake metaphor, there are tremors in Upton’s area now. Kind of patting myself on the back for mostly guessing what the Braves’ take-it-or-leave-it offer for Upton would be (if today’s rumors have any validity). I will note that if Gattis is included, I didn’t see that coming, and I’m not as sure how I feel about trading the only potential impact bat on the forseeable horizon in the system. But then part of me thinks that’s first world problems in an Upton-Upton-Heyward world.

  3. 3
    mravery Says:

    IMO Jupton is sufficiently impactful to lose Gattis. To be honest, it’s Teheran I’d be more concerned about. Gattis doesn’t really have star upside. I think more like really good platoon player most of the time with maybe a year or two as a legit every-day starter in LF. Teheran’s still got top-of-the-rotation possibilities. That said, I don’t mind giving him up for Jupton.

  4. 4
    Adam R Says:

    OK, people. I have removed my ceremonial 1995 World Champions tomahawk out from its resting place deep within my sock drawer, and I have commenced chopping. But I fear we are insufficiently mobilized. We need more good vibes. Maybe even a youtube video. Bethany, are you on the treadmill?

  5. 5
    Smitty Says:

    Gattis, Tehran and Ahmed? Yeah, I’d do that.

  6. 6
    Smitty Says:


    Yeah, that is nasty.

  7. 7
    Trace Says:

    I’d go with

    Bossman Jr.

    I want it.

  8. 8
    Dix Says:

    wouldn’t have to give up Simmons?

  9. 9
    Trace Says:

    DBacks already got a shortstop from the Indians so it’s not a requirement for them anymore.

  10. 10
    John Gaines Says:


    Daddy like..

  11. 11
    John R. Says:

    Re: Andruw Jones. I love the guy, but he’s a fat, drunk, wife-beater. Actually, then, I don’t really love the guy. I do honor his past history with the team, but don’t really see him having a place on our team, even if really cheap.

    Let’s get Justin, although I would hate to see the promise of the White Bear pack off to AZ.

  12. 12
    Rob Cope Says:


  13. 13
    kc Says:

    Isn’t Andruw going to Japan?

    I would prefer letting go Delgado + another lower level arm instead of Teheran. But I am fine either way.

  14. 14
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Come on, Wren, don’t cave now. Delgado + Constanza and not a bucket of balls more!

  15. 15
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Joking of course. Unless you include El Oso Blanco. Then it’s not funny anymore.

  16. 16
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Am I the only one who would rather give them Delgado + Graham + Ahmed than Teheran + Ahmed + Gattis?

  17. 17
    Stu Says:


  18. 18
    Dan Says:

    Gattis was this year’s Tyler Flowers. Suddenly hyped like crazy in the offseason; traded that same offseason. Like the Braves were pumping up the value.

  19. 19
    spike Says:

    As a point of order, the D’backs currently have FIVE, not four ML OF’s – Eaton, Upton, Kubel, Parra and Ross.

  20. 20
    Bethany Says:

    I think that Gattis has more value to the Braves than the DBacks because of his ability to catch (hopefully at the MLB level), and that his unique situation makes him less desirable to others teams. I don’t think he’s a guy you trade for.

  21. 21
    sansho1 Says:

    He’s definitely a guy you trade away, though. Beasts of myth rarely survive the light.

  22. 22
    Bethany Says:

    @21 I definitely agree, but I would be surprised if he’s a piece that Arizona wants.

  23. 23
    sansho1 Says:

    In my cynical, black heart I imagine Wren greasing the palms of a few Venezuelan league lifers and saying “all you gotta do is groove him some fastballs, and maybe give him a cool sounding animal nickname, okay”?

  24. 24
    Dan Says:

    Don’t forget contacting the Information Ministry, id est O’Brien and Bowman, to write fluff pieces.

  25. 25
    JonathanF Says:

    Just saw a re-tweet suggesting. That Jupton will be good insurance if Constanza gets injured.

  26. 26
    Dan Says:

    Just saw a re-tweet suggesting. That Jupton will be good insurance if Constanza gets injured.

    Fredi Gonzalez is on Twitter?

  27. 27
    W.C.G. Says:

    I agree that Gattis as a prospect isn’t exactly Heyward ’09. But let’s not act like he’s a total winter league phenom either. He’s destroyed every level of pitching he’s gone up against since he came back to baseball. There’s no one else in the system who can say that right now. Whatever his ceiling is, it’s higher than anything else we’ve got.

    This team depends on a steady stream of cost-controlled prospects taking spots in the MLB lineup to compete at its budget level. Acquiring Upton probably means McCann’s gone after this year. That leaves a hole at catcher, and Bethancourt’s just not developed enough as a hitter to plausibly be able to step in to a contending major league lineup in 14 months.

    Thus, Gattis has more value to the Braves than he would to the D-Backs, who are flush at both OF and C. Whatever Wren can do to get this deal done as all pitchers and mid-minors infielders, he should do.

  28. 28
    Stu Says:

    19—Pollock, too.

  29. 29
    mravery Says:

    Yeah… Gattis isn’t catching anywhere at the major league level. He’s just not.

  30. 30
    Stu Says:

    Whatever his ceiling is, it’s higher than anything else we’ve got.

    I’m a big, big Gattis fan, but I think that’s going a bit too far. Gattis is dreamy because of his apparent near-readiness for the majors — there are plenty of far-away guys in the system who have high ceilings.

  31. 31
    Smitty Says:

    I like Gattis too. But I would rather have the outfield where fly balls and double go to die.

  32. 32
    Stu Says:

    Peanut lists the Braves’ untouchables as Simmons, Graham, and Bethancourt.

    Two things:

    1) Passan reported that Graham could be the key to a deal. Hmm.

    2) If the Braves still believe in Bethancourt, so should we, IMO.

  33. 33
    csg Says:

    I believe DON listed Graham as untouchable also. At least I remember seeing it posted somewhere. Still think the deal looks like this.


  34. 34
    JonathanF Says:

    Extremely cool HOF trajectory website for those seeking to understand how HOF voters behave:

  35. 35
    csg Says:


    Dang auto correct

  36. 36
    Stu Says:

    33—That’s certainly what I’m hoping it looks like.

  37. 37
    Smitty Says:


    I would like that too, but there is a lot of smoke around Gattis instead of EOF/Venters

  38. 38
    sansho1 Says:

    Obviously I’m somewhat joking. But the evidence that Gattis is ML ready is thin to me. Age and competition. Sorry, I know that’s a dull point to make, but there’s nothing he’s done that necessarily says anything other than he can feast on unpolished pitchers.

    Also, I’d say that young defensive whizzes at important defensive positions have served the Braves well in the past, to the point where seeing him in Atlanta next year is quite forecastable indeed. Filling out the lineup with Justin Upton, and provided Andrelton can maintain some offensive contribution, would leave me gladly sacrificing offense at catcher.

  39. 39
    Stu Says:

    Totally agree. But you agree that, all else equal, you’d rather the Braves get to hang onto the White Bear story for a while longer, right?

  40. 40
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Sure, but Jupton isn’t “all else equal.”

  41. 41
    Dan Says:

    Peter Gammons:

    “One voice on Braves package for Upton: Delgado, Gilmartin, Spruill”

  42. 42
    Dan Says:

    Rosenthal just tweeted:

    “Sources: #Braves close to acquiring Justin Upton from #Diamondbacks. Still working through final details”

  43. 43
    Smitty Says:


    Wow, that is a little different than what we were hearing. I’m all for that.

  44. 44
    Smitty Says:

    TIme for DOB to step in and mess it up

  45. 45
    Stu Says:

    40—Yes, I think that I’ve established that to be my position. I’m just saying, if it’s Gattis vs. some value-comparable other prospect/reliever/whatever in the deal for Upton, I’d prefer to hang onto the man-myth-legend.

  46. 46
    sansho1 Says:


    I guess so. He could be Kevin Reimer, which is a limited skill set, but at least it’s a particular one.

  47. 47
    Smitty Says:

    MLB Trade Rumors also notes that it is Delgado going to Arizona

  48. 48
    jjschiller Says:

    Rosenthal on TV saying its happening, and its Delgado.

  49. 49
    Dan Says:

    Upton coming here, Delgado leaving. I like this a lot.

  50. 50
    Smitty Says:

    I wonder who else is going.

  51. 51
    jjschiller Says:

    Heyman says done deal, Rosenthal’s latest was “its being finalized.”

  52. 52
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:


  53. 53
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Amazing. Wren managed to replace Chipper and Bourn.

  54. 54
    AA Says:

    Rotoworld says (from Rosenthal) it’s Delgado + Teheran + one other prospect.

    I sure hope this isn’t correct.

  55. 55
    Stu Says:


  56. 56
    sansho1 Says:


  57. 57
    Parish Says:

    I wish I trusted Peter Gammons more.

  58. 58
    Shawn Says:

    Sorry if this has been gone over before here, but has anything like two brothers in their prime playing in the same outfield happened before, except for the Waner brothers I guess? And, this is a huge hope obviously, but I wonder if the happiness of playing together will push them both to better heights…?

  59. 59
    Smitty Says:



  60. 60
    Stu Says:

    58—Alou brothers?

  61. 61
    jjschiller Says:

    Rosenthal now says Delgado’s not the biggest piece…….

  62. 62
    Smitty Says:

    I think the Aaron brothers did.

  63. 63
    Shawn Says:

    Rosenthal’s own Twitter says it’s not Teheran, but that Delgado’s not the biggest piece either.

  64. 64
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Teheran + Delgado? Uh-oh.

  65. 65
    sansho1 Says:

    Just looked up the Alous — Matty didn’t really get going until after he and Felipe played together.

  66. 66
    Stu Says:

    Martin’s gone…

  67. 67
    Smitty Says:

    He also says it isn’t Tehran

  68. 68
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    I bet it is Graham after all.

  69. 69
    Adam M Says:

    W.C.G. – this is a great piece. Well done.

  70. 70
    Shawn Says:

    Stu, Alou Brothers are a pretty good example… I’ll have to look up when they played together and if it made any difference on their stats.

  71. 71
    Smitty Says:

    Moving Prado would create another hole

  72. 72
    Smitty Says:

    I’m betting it’s Graham too

  73. 73
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Towers insisted on Graham so Wren swapped Delgado in for Teheran and also took out Ahmed?

  74. 74
    Douglass Says:

    :panic: :puke:

  75. 75
    Dan Says:

    “Delgado is not the biggest piece going to Arizona in the trade, but Julio Teheran is staying with the Braves, Rosenthal adds”

  76. 76
    Stu Says:

    Shanks is saying it’s Prado/Delgado/Ahmed/Spruill for Upton/Johnson. So, we’ll have a poorly-fielding Sluggo Platoon at third…not sure what to think about that.

  77. 77
    Smitty Says:

    I wonder if it’s McCann…

  78. 78
    Smitty Says:

    Wow, putting Prado in there creates a bigger hole. Who leads off? Ehhhhhhhhh

  79. 79
    Dan Says:

    Is Gattis considered bigger than Delgado?

  80. 80
    sansho1 Says:

    I refuse to entertain the notion that Martin is in this trade.

  81. 81
    spike Says:

    Trading Prado? We’re back to the hole at 3B that this trade was supposed to solve.


  82. 82
    Stu Says:

    Bowman confirms. Good thing we’ve got an elite defensive SS, I suppose!

  83. 83
    Dan Says:

    Wren thinks three years of Upton is better than one year of Prado, I guess.

    Hoping Shanks is wrong again.

  84. 84
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Baffling. I guess Simmons is leading off.

  85. 85
    Adam M Says:

    Prado is gone.

  86. 86
    Putter Says:

    From Bowman:

    Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman
    Source: Braves get Justin Upton and Chris Johnson from D-backs for Prado, Delgado, Ahmed and Spruill.

  87. 87
    jjschiller Says:

    If its Martin, I don’t like the deal. As the grocery man said, Why Pay More?

  88. 88
    Stu Says:

    I gotta say, I didn’t have much hope for the Braves keeping Prado after this year, once they agreed to go to arbitration…but I wasn’t prepared to wish him good-bye until after this season!

    Still…Uptons! I like the trade.

  89. 89
    jjschiller Says:

    Rosenthal says Bowman and Shanks are right…

  90. 90
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    This only makes sense if they talked extension and Prado asked for $15 million a year.

  91. 91
    Smitty Says:

    Wow. Prado?

  92. 92
    Shawn Says:

    Johnson doesn’t walk and doesn’t seem to be a great fielder, but I guess he isn’t the worst hitter in the world. I guess.

    What I’m saying is I’ll miss Martin.

  93. 93
    Douglass Says:

    this is a fantastic trade.

  94. 94
    sansho1 Says:

    I get it, but my overwhelming feeling at the moment is one of loss.

  95. 95
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    And why include Ahmed too? Isn’t he the guy we’ll need to replace Prado?

  96. 96
    spike Says:

    So is Johnson going to be the starting 3B, or are we getting someone else?

  97. 97
    Putter Says:

    Chris Johnson isn’t a complete hack, and we kept Teheran, Graham and Gattis and got the other Upton…I like it

  98. 98
    Smitty Says:

    I think the deal is good, not great. Chris Johnson is worse at third than the road runner.

  99. 99
    Stu Says:

    I think we’re in for a Johnson/Francisco platoon.

  100. 100
    Dan Says:

    Never missed Mac more than now. Wish we could read his take on this.

  101. 101
    Bethany Says:

    Wait, so we refused to pay the guy a half million more than planned then sent him off? There might be something about prado we aren’t seeing. I’m very sad to see him go, but this was probably his last year here. I’m very glad we got Upton, but I’m seriously less stoked if they pencil in Roadrunner at third.

  102. 102
    AA Says:

    UGH Prado!

  103. 103
    Adam M Says:

    Out of curiosity, who is going to start at 3B against lefties? Johnson has a reverse platoon split.

  104. 104
    JonathanF Says:

    While cautiously invoking the Furcal rule, does this improve the team? Yes. Is it the slamdunk Jupton for prospects only deal we all really really liked? No.

  105. 105
    Stu Says:

    103—Evan Gattis, clearly.

  106. 106
    Smitty Says:

    I agree with Stu, they will platoon or one of them will just win the job.

    We can live with a so-so defensive third baseman. See Chipper Jones

  107. 107
    Bethany Says:

    Ah, we got Chris Johnson too.

  108. 108
    Smitty Says:

    Maybe Uggla will move to third and we can go after a second baseman

  109. 109
    Trace Says:

    Kudos for Wren not trading Prado last season at his low point last offseason. Remember the Seth Smith rumors? The Braves thought they wouldn’t be able to resign Prado and got 3 years of a better player.

    And I have a hard time believing that Chris Johnson and Roadunner are worse defensively than 40 year old Chipper. I think that’s a push.

    Great trade.

  110. 110
    Adam M Says:

    Chris Johnson is absolutely terrible in the field – and can’t hit lefties at all. I see no reason he should be on the roster if Francisco is already there.

  111. 111
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:


    An incredible amount of power, and some surprising speed, in that lineup.

  112. 112
    Shawn Says:

    I’m betting they lead off B.J. instead of Simmons.

  113. 113
    td Says:

    Hate to see Prado go, but all things considered, the deal seems like a good one for the Braves. From a hitting standpoint Johnson doesn’t look too bad. It would be nice if he could field!

  114. 114
    Cary Says:

    The deal as reported is grand theft for the Braves. Nice work by my childhood/early adulthood team. Justin Upton is a premier talent and nothing close went the other way. I’m really shocked that neither J.R. Graham nor Teheran was included. Prado is a solid enough player, but don’t overrate him.

    Atlanta just might give my Nats a run for it, though the advantage in the rotation still favors Washington. But arms, they are temperamental.

  115. 115
    stupup74 Says:

    This is going to go way out of the box, but Heyward could leadoff.

  116. 116
    Anon21 Says:

    103: Johnson has a reverse observed platoon, but with only 360 PAs against LHP as your sample, you have to regress his stats pretty far back towards the population mean. See comments at

  117. 117
    Bethany Says:

    @mlbbowman: Prado was likely going to be looking for an avg. annual salary north of $10 million this year.

  118. 118
    jjschiller Says:

    162 game averages:

    Prado .295/.345/.435, 40 2b and 12 HR
    Johnson .276/.315/.430, 33 2b and 15 HR
    Francisco .258/.303/.440, 22 2B and 14 HR

    A step backward, but not as big as I thought. Only problem is that neither Johnson or Francisco hits lefties.

  119. 119
    Bethany Says:

    Anyone other than Simmons leading off, please.

  120. 120
    mravery Says:

    The thing about Martin is that he was a FA after this year. It’s possible they tried to get a long-term deal done with him and it just didn’t happen. I’m bummed to see him go. I was really looking forward to seeing him at 3B next year. I don’t really have a problem with giving up Delgado and Ahmed, and Johnson looks like a legit bat at 3rd, even if his glove represents a steep downgrade from Prado.

    And we keep Teheran? I actually think I really like this deal. If the Uptons perform, this will be a STACKED lineup, albeit one lacking a real leadoff hitter unless Simmons just becomes otherworldly.

  121. 121
    Stu Says:

    Jupton and Bupton…

    Or Jupton and BuhJupton?

  122. 122
    sansho1 Says:

    Prado and overrated have never met.

    I believe if you took all 30 teams and divided their starting eight position players into a fast relay team and a slow relay team, the Braves might finish first and 60th.

  123. 123
    Douglass Says:

    Simmons, A
    Heyward, J
    Upton, J
    Upton, B
    Freeman, F
    McCann, B
    Uggla, D
    Francisco, J

    Laird, G
    Johnson, R
    Johnson, C
    Janish, pretty

    Hudson, T
    Medlen, K
    Minor, M
    Maholm, P
    Teheran, J

    Kimbrel, C
    O’Flaherty, E
    Venters, J
    Walden, J
    Avilan, L
    Martinez, C
    Durbin, C

    DL: Beachy, B


  124. 124
    Stu Says:

    122—Gonna be some clogged bases up in here, for sure.

  125. 125
    jjschiller Says:

    In the spirit of Joe Shanderson and Gary Tanderson, you’d have (Justi) Nupton and.. (Bossman Junio) Rupton

  126. 126
    AA Says:

    @124 no more than last year.

  127. 127
    JonathanF Says:

    @122: Sure, but just watching Uggla run the anchor leg on the slow team would be fun.

  128. 128
    Stu Says:

    “BuhJupton” is ridiculously fun to say.

  129. 129
    CoronitaKing Says:

    My gut reaction is “Ugh”

  130. 130
    Dix Says:

    This thread needs more Uptons

  131. 131
    Smitty Says:

    Up Up and JHey!

  132. 132
    Nick Says:

    If we could see not re-signing Prado coming down the pike, and if we could see a pain-in-the-neck arbitration fight this year coming down the pike, this is great deal, this is a great deal. Even if we could’ve had Prado this year and in a long-term deal for what he’s worth, I still say this is a great deal. Martin Prado is never going to carry a lineup. Justin Upton can. Yeah, third base isn’t great now, but I don’t think it’s any worse defensively than it was last year with Chipper there, and it’ll clearly be the eighth spot in the batting order. I’m not too terribly concerned about that. We just weren’t expecting to lose Prado in this, so people are acting negatively preliminarily. This trade definitely makes us better, though.

  133. 133
    Nick Says:

    Ack! I really need to start taking the lack of an edit function into account and read my posts more carefully.

  134. 134
    spike Says:

    After fairly swiftly moving through the Kubler-Ross phases, I pretty much agree with Nick.

  135. 135
    sansho1 Says:

    I just need Norman Dale to slap the shit out of me and say “this is your team” and I’ll be okay.

  136. 136
    Smitty Says:


  137. 137
    Dix Says:

    Take emotion out of the equation…we are a better team now and next year than we were this morning.

  138. 138
    spike Says:

    If Uggla can rebound just to 2011 levels, let alone career averages, that’s a pretty potent group of hitters.

  139. 139
    c. shorter Says:

    I get it, but my overwhelming feeling at the moment is one of loss.

    I’ve gone from giddiness to gut punch to realization that Martin probably wasn’t going to be here much longer anyway. (Especially after reading Medlen’s comments on Prado in his AMA, this loss is not cool.) You have to give to get and I’m very excited for the new outfield. Need to focus on that aspect.

  140. 140
    Smitty Says:

    Lots of strikeouts in our future

  141. 141
    CoronitaKing Says:

    But I will reserve the right to a more seasoned opinion in the next 24 hours

  142. 142
    Nick Says:

    According to Rosenthal, we also threw Brandon Drury in on top. So the trade as it currently stands:

    We get: Justin Upton and Chris Johnson
    They get: Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Nick Ahmed, Zeke Spruill and Brandon Drury

  143. 143
    ktbass Says:

    Love the trade and am really liking all of this rosterbation going on.
    Upton, Upton, and JHey in the OF is amazing!

  144. 144
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    I am still awaiting the final confirmation–hate to see us lose Prado and Ahmed, but there is so much to love about this deal.

    We were going to lose Prado anyway, but we get to keep Teheran, Gilmartin and Graham–all who have upsides at least as high as Delgado.

    Not a bad deal for the Diamondbacks either….

  145. 145
    Smitty Says:

    Brandon Drury is the next Lou Gehrig!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  146. 146
    Smitty Says:

    Honestly, I think this is a good deal. Prado was going to leave after this year, so at least we got something for him. Ahmed was blocked. Delado was blocked. Spruill was trade bait anyways.

  147. 147
    W.C.G. Says:

    The Prado thing came as a shock, and I’m still getting over that. I do understand that if you have a choice between paying two left fielders the same money over 3-4 years, and one is Justin Upton and the other is Martin Prado, you choose Upton. Just wish we could have held on to Prado for one more year, since his flexibility was such an asset in covering for injuries or just giving someone a day off.

    These two third basemen are completely redundant now, though. Maybe one of them can be flipped for someone with more of a utilityman/can hit LHP skill set?

    I vote Uggla for leadoff. No lie.

  148. 148
    Dan Says:


  149. 149
    Smitty Says:


    He does walk a lot. Maybe he would cut down on his swing some.

    Interesting thought.

  150. 150
    jjschiller Says:

    Upton only makes 2 mil more than Prado, and averaged over the three years we get him, costs roughly what we’d have had to pay to keep Prado. I’m on board with that.

    DOB points out that by including Prado and his salary, we STILL have money to spend.

  151. 151
    DJ Says:

    Losing Prado is a gut punch. I have no idea what he was seeking as far as a LT deal goes, but I loved that guy. Never complained, always thought of team first, great teammate (Medlen called him the funniest guy on the team in English and Spanish)……man.

    When can say “As long as the Uptons hit this is a good deal” until we’re blue in the face. Martin was a known commodity.

  152. 152
    Stu Says:

    Time to trade for Chase Headley!

  153. 153
    Johnny Says:

    I’ll be damned. AZ didn’t do to bad in this deal but I like our haul. We dealt from organizational strength but I am surprised but upon reflection not so surprised about the inclusion of Prado. I’m sure the contract situation of the key players was a big factor in this deal. We are officially a better team than last year with this trade.

    I love Prado. I love what he did for the organization. But he is one of those batting average dependent players that can crash and burn with some bad luck. I’m not sure he would have been worth a long term deal for 35 or 40 million bucks. JUpton has way more upside. Well done Mr. Wren.

  154. 154
    Stu Says:

    Justin Upton wears number 10 and has a pretty sweet Twiter handle that depends on it. Guessing he changes it now, but that’s a mildly interesting tangential storyline to keep up with!

  155. 155
    JonathanF Says:

    @150: I think that’s exactly right. Taking on Upton without some salary relief was going to leave us defenseless for future deals. This is a deal that never would have been available, say, midseason, when you’re only dealing with a Prado rental. For some reason, a full season’s rental is regarded as more than twice as valuable as a half-season. I’m still on board… or at least I will be until the fifth consecutive Roadrunner whiff at a ball in the dirt two feet off the plate.

  156. 156
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Considering the similarities between Francisco and Johnson, I’m not sure Wren is done dealing. 3B are a hot commodity.

  157. 157
    kc Says:

    My brain says it is a great and creative deal by Wren. I don’t like losing Prado…but he is indeed a FA after this season and it’s very likely the Braves can not afford to keep. Now can we find ourselves a decent third baseman? I don’t believe in Francisco. Well done Frank.

  158. 158
    Stu Says:

    Frank Wren is pretty great, you guys.

  159. 159
    Smitty Says:

    There aren’t a lot of 3B out there. I wonder what it would take to get Chase Headley?

    Tehran, Graham and _____?

    The SEC would be well reped on the team

    Hudson- Auburn
    Minor- Vandy
    Maholm- Miss St

  160. 160
    Bethany Says:

    We still have Teheran AND what might be the most stacked pen in the league.

    So happy.

  161. 161
    Adam M Says:

    103: Johnson has a reverse observed platoon, but with only 360 PAs against LHP as your sample, you have to regress his stats pretty far back towards the population mean.

    Very good point. Thanks for this.

  162. 162
    Troy Says:

    So nice. That’s some mashers in the lineup! I have loved Justin as a fantasy baseball “owner” of him for the past four years. I know i’m an optimist, but if these guys all have above-average years, we are gonna be tough to stop. What an outfield, oh man. It doesn’t get better than that.

  163. 163
    Stu Says:

    The Bonifacio thing would make some sense.

  164. 164
    W.C.G. Says:

    @154 – somehow I envision him as #12. His old number + his brother’s, reflecting how they’re hanging out together in the same outfield now. Best I can come up with at the moment. I can’t make a cool Twitter handle based on that, though.

    We’ll just string 3B along until Chipper Jones pulls a Roger Clemens from one of the Turner Field suites in mid-July, gets on the PA system, and announces his return for one last run, because he couldn’t let the wild-card game be his send-off. I REFUSE TO LET THIS DREAM DIE.

  165. 165
    JoeyT Says:

    Chris Johnson has a lot of team control left. He’s arb this year, but he’s super 2. This is a very forward-looking deal that sets our team up for years. Delgado’s good, and we lose his years, but we have other arms that can take a mid-rotation slot (after Beachy/Medlen) for the next few years. This keeps us competitive for a while. Giving up Prado is the kind of gut-check move that defines a GM. A hugely popular extremely versatile player in his prime sacrificed because he’s in the last year of team control. Unless Delgado turns into an ace, which could happen, this is a great deal.

  166. 166
    Smitty Says:

    Outfield- A+ (possibly best in baseball)
    Starting Pitching- B (Lots of #2s)
    Bullpen- A+ (possible best in baseball)
    Infield- B- (better on D than at the start of last year)

    Bench- C (Johnson and Johnson are nice, but after than, blah)

    We might be the second best team in the league. Too bad we will still have to play in that bull shit WC play in game.

  167. 167
    csg Says:

    I absolutely loved Prado, but job well done Wren. Now find us a capable 3b and get Gattis some more time at C

  168. 168
    csg Says:

    Yep I’d take Bonifacio now

  169. 169
    Seat Painter Says:

    One more on the ‘Hate to lose Prado, but worth it to grab Justin’ bandwagon.

    And if seeing the roadrunner whiff in the 7th or 8th spot in our line-up is our biggest issue, then I’m really loving this deal.

  170. 170
    Nick Says:

    If nothing else, this has finally extracted me from my debilitating case of PFD (post-Falcons depression).

  171. 171
    Douglass Says:

    Falcons, lol.

    I’m f’n ecstatic over here.

  172. 172
    John R. Says:

    Very sad about losing Prado. I’m giving this 24 hours before I can start considering any happiness over the deal.

  173. 173
    mravery Says:

    Think of it this way: JUpton is under contract for the next 3 years at roughly $13M per. Prado would’ve gotten about the same over that time frame if you assume the Braves worked out a 3-year deal for him. JUpton’s a much better hitter and a potential MVP candidate. The Braves basically traded some prospects to upgrade from Prado to Upton for the next three years, and give themselves a shot at extending Jutpon beyond that. (Recall, BUpton is here for five years, which should give the Braves a shot at extending JUpton beyond these next three. That could be very good for the Braves.)

  174. 174
    CoronitaKing Says:

    How do we feel about the possibility that Upton + Upton is a classic “whole is greater than the sum of the parts” scenario?

    I’m not sure if there is any empirical evidence for something like this

  175. 175
    JonathanF Says:

    Top 10 baseball brothers:
    On this list, the Waners, the Alous, the Niekros, the Perrys, the Deans, the Martinez and the Alomars all played together at some point, so it’s actually pretty common. There are of course plenty of other examples, like the Aarons, where one player was much, much better than the other.

  176. 176
    justhank Says:

    I’ll miss Prado. Warriors are hard to come by.

    I think you guys might be on to something with Uggla leading off. His biggest problem is trying to hit everything 500 feet down the left field line. If his role is redefined, it might very well accomplish the necessary swing changes. Worth a look.

    Can Gattis play 3B? A move from C to 3B is fairly common, isn’t it?

    And, yes, Headley please. Can you imagine …

  177. 177
    JoeyT Says:

    Also, thinking way in advance, if the Uptons enjoy playing together, we could have an edge in signing Justin for a couple more years of his prime. How much of a discount is playing with his brother worth?

  178. 178
    Stu Says:

    We could have an edge in re-signing Jupton, but we could also really piss of BuhJupton if we fail to do it.

    Still…the next three years are gonna be really fun.

  179. 179
    Parish Says:

    We already had 4 players on ESPN’s top 25 under 25. Jupton was #1 on the list last year, though has turned 25 since.

    The 2013 team’s improvement is tempered by Prado’s departure, no doubt. But, the next few years are looking much better.

  180. 180
    spike Says:

    This would be an excellent time for Salcedo to start figuring it out at third.

  181. 181
    Dan Says:

    Keith Law: Arizona didn’t get enough for Upton

  182. 182
    justhank Says:

    As smitty points out, that lineup is going to strike out A LOT.

    We’ll be majestic and then we’ll be futile. Hope we get the timing right.

  183. 183
    jjschiller Says:

    Justin Upton K% in 12: 19.3. League average: 19.8.

  184. 184
    rehabreject Says:

    Remember when Scott Hairston was one of our actual options for LF?

  185. 185
    td Says:

    Let’s just teach Justin to play 3rd (how much worse could he be than the Roadrunner?) and re-sign Bourne. No I’m not really serious about this (sarcasm is hard to pick up on in a blog), but that would really be an incredible line up!

  186. 186
    JonathanF Says:

    “With the surgery he had, he’ll be able to hit, he’ll be able to throw, he’ll be 100 percent in those areas in spring training,” Wren said. “It’s just the last risk factor is diving and sliding. That’s the area in the shoulder repair our doctors want to make sure is healed. The only way you can do that is with time. You can’t rehab it to make it heal faster. That’s going to be the last thing before they turn him loose.”

    How hard can it be to tell McCann not to dive or slide, and to get out of the way when guys are barreling towards home? I gladly cede those runs for his bat.

  187. 187
    csg Says:

    Chase Headley and a bench bat, his team will be stacked

  188. 188
    Stu Says:

    This team is already rather stacked.

  189. 189
    gaz Says:

    I think this is actually a great trade. We got one of about 5 players in the league capable of really making an impact in a pennant race and got him for no one near his full value considering his age and affordability. Considering how good the Nats are going to be we needed something of this magnitude to realistically have a shot otherwise we were looking at the bullshit 1 game playoff again.

    The only question of course is third, but that’s basically the same question as yesterday only with another option and a dramatic improvement in LF.

  190. 190
    justhank Says:

    This must be how Ranger fans feel about losing Michael Young.

  191. 191
    csg Says:

    Except Prado is still a good valuable player, Young is not

  192. 192
    Stu Says:

    The two Rangers fans I know were absolutely overjoyed to lose Michael Young, so no.

  193. 193
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Keith Law:

    Upton has some of the best bat speed and the strongest wrists in the game, generating hard contact and easy power, similar to Andrew McCutchen when he’s squaring up the ball consistently.

  194. 194
    Grst Says:

    @186 It’s easy to tell him, but very hard to do. Instincts are hard to just turn off.

  195. 195
    Smitty Says:



  196. 196
    Jason C Says:

    I will miss Prado. He’s an easy guy to root for: He wasn’t on any prospects list, worked his tail off to improve, and would play anywhere you put him. By all accounts a good teammate and a good guy.

    Losing him stings. But you know what makes me feel better? The following words: Justin Upton, Atlanta Brave.

    I wish Prado all the best. I hope AZ gives him a big fat extension. He’s earned it.

    Justin Upton, Atlanta Brave. I like the sound of that.

  197. 197
    Stu Says:

    Being real: The hardest part of losing Prado, to me, is that he was Mac’s favorite. So, that adds a sting on top of all the other good things everyone is saying about Martin.

    But then I look at the ages and abilities of our three starting OFs…

  198. 198
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    The Janish signing suddenly makes a lot more sense. It’s almost like Wren was planning on dealing Prado all along.

  199. 199
    Stu Says:

    Really don’t think Wren was planning on dealing Prado until they failed to work out an extension with him. From what I gather, at that point, they returned to Towers with a willingness to include him in a deal, and things got serious.

  200. 200
    Johnny Says:

    Prado might have a career year playing 1/2 his games in AZ. Good for him. I truly wish him and Delgado the best. I think we may have the best damn GM in the land. Oh and thanks Justin. I hear Seattle is a cool city but just having watched Bourdain in Atlanta it does NOT have the Claremont …… and Cheetah 3 etc. etc.

  201. 201
    mravery Says:

    I do agree that a lot of folks are too easily dismissing what Prado brought to the table these past few years. Basically, the Braves are betting that JUpton will be a great player in Atlanta. Prado was a very good player, what with his flexibility on defense and his solid bat. He will certainly be missed. One upside for Prado is he’s now got a TON of leverage with AZ when it comes to negotiating an extension. For one thing, they’ll want to get it done soon (similar to the Braves deal for Uggla), and for another, Arizona basically needs him to sign an extension for this trade to not be an unmitigated disaster. Towers made the trade under the assumption that he’d be able to keep Prado around for a while, and if Prado drives a hard bargain, it’ll be hard for Arizona to say “no.”

    As a Braves fan, I like the fact that our OF is locked in for the next three years. Another thing to note is that this trade didn’t really effect the Braves’ payroll situation for this year, since JUpton’s only making ~$3M more than Prado would’ve. So there’s still room to sign some bench folks or make a deal mid-season.

  202. 202
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I’m impressed by the degree to which Wren was able to control leaks from his end. We didn’t know who was in the deal until the deal was done. They seem to run a tight organizational ship. Obviously, there aren’t as many reporters around the team as there are in some cities, and Shanks and DOB are hardly a match for all of the insanely competitive tabloid and local ESPN reporters in other towns. But still, I think it gives him a real edge in dealmaking.

  203. 203
    spike Says:

    The only question of course is third, but that’s basically the same question as yesterday only with another option and a dramatic improvement in LF.

    That really is the way to view this. And LF just got better for 3 years.

  204. 204
    Ted Mundale Says:

    Can someone do a write up on Prado’s braves career? He was a joy to watch and watching him play every position on the field was nostalgic. I hope he is in the braves clubhouse again one day.

  205. 205
    Smitty Says:

    Left field has been kind of a hole for a long time

  206. 206
    Dusty Says:

    I know someone joked about it earlier and I certainly think it’s a total longshot, but Chipper’s got to be at least thinking about how fun one more year with this bunch would be right? 3rd base is the weakest position and if the $14 mill we had available before the trade is correct, we should have 10-11 left right?

    I love the trade but am I the only one worried about SP depth? Beachy coming back at the All-Star break will help, but who’s the guy when/if someone gets hurt early in the year or if Teheran is ineffective? Gilmartin, The Lisp, Graham? Could see ATL using some of that $ to add a little depth but you’d also hate to not give Teheran his shot.

    It does stink that one of ATL/WAS may be relegated to the play-in game.

  207. 207
    ralphdibny Says:

    Stolen shamelessly from someone at HardBallTalk:

    Our super outfield is now “Up, Up, and a Hey.”

  208. 208
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I’m going to write up Justin Upton now, because Bowman has written the trade up and the Furcal rule has been satisfied.

  209. 209
    Stu Says:

    Yeah, the Braves and DBacks have both officially announced the deal.

  210. 210
    ububba Says:

    Greetings from Anaheim…

    We’re sporting one bad-ass OF now.

    We’ll miss you, Mr. Prado, but we just got better.

  211. 211
    Jeff K Says:

    Wow, amazing landing Upton. I will really miss Martin, wish you the best of luck in AZ and hope to see you back in Atlanta one day. All that and we still have Avilan.

  212. 212
    Jason C Says:

    Remember when our opening day OF was Garrett Anderson, Jordan Schafer, and J*ff Fr*nc***r? Yeah, I think we have upgraded since then…

  213. 213
    justhank Says:

    Stu – that surprises me about Michael Young. From a distance, he always seemed like a valuable piece – not flashy, but consistent and willing and able to play just about anywhere.

    Did your Ranger friends say why they were pleased he moved on?

  214. 214
    gaz Says:

    @212 Wow I’ve done my best to forget that actually. Thanks for putting this in perspective though.

  215. 215
    Dusty Says:

    Great piece on the impact of Ks. He makes the point that baserunning has a far greater impact on total runs vs. expected runs than Ks.

    Here’s the link:

  216. 216
    Stu Says:

    213—I think he’s generally regarded as a pretty good teammate whom everyone likes. But he’s really expensive and not nearly as productive as he once was. But because he’s a good guy, Ron Washington left him in the lineup, day after day.

    So, it’s not that my friends disliked Young — they have very soft spots in their heart for him — but he’s not much of a player anymore, and he was going to keep stealing PAs from better players in Texas.

  217. 217
    jjschiller Says:

    I am at a loss every time I hear how Michael Young was “willing to play anywhere” or that he’s a “team-first” guy.

    He demanded a trade when they moved him off short.

  218. 218
    jjschiller Says:

    He actually twice demanded trades. In Jan of 2009, and in Feb of 2011.

  219. 219
    mravery Says:

    I actually think Young is a very good comp for Prado. For one thing, they share a similar offensive profile as guys who didn’t walk a ton but didn’t strike out overly-much either. Both were great clubhouse guys, both provided excellent value from their ability and willingness to move around the field as their team required, and both looked for 8-digit salary extensions as they moved into their 30s. And that’s where Young became a liability. At one point, he was a SS and a decent one, but as he became unable to handle the position defensively, his use at other spots (2B, 3B) made his bat less useful. As that declined as well, he became very, very overpaid. This is what you might fear would happen with Prado if given, say, a 4- or 5-year deal. Young was a really good player for the Rangers for a long time, just as Prado was for the Braves. But eventually, Young became overpaid and not very good. I’m not saying that’ll happen with Prado, but its certainly a possibility. I hope the man gets paid, though. He’s definitely put in his years with Atlanta to where I’d say he’s “earned” it.

  220. 220
    Adam M Says:

    Young was also the worst player in baseball last season. That generally makes fans happy to see you go.

  221. 221
    Dan Says:

    Remember when our opening day OF was Garrett Anderson, Jordan Schafer, and J*ff Fr*nc***r?

    Better or worse than Matt Diaz, Gregor Blanco and Jeff Fr*nc***r?

  222. 222
    stupup74 Says:

    The one downside to this team will be the number of K’s. It could lead to a few frustrating nights when they go through some dry spells and all, but this trade seems to have energized the fan base for the first time in a long time.

    An energized fan base buys hats and jerseys and tickets, which leads to more money to spend on players and the cycle trends upward.

  223. 223
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    New thread.

  224. 224
    td Says:

    I also remember Raul Mondesi and Ryan Langerhans in the OF. This OF should be a lot of fun to watch – hopefully for a long time.

  225. 225
    PeteOrr Says:

    @221 – So much worse. Anderson, Schafer, and Frenchy combined for -2.7 WAR for the Braves in 2009. I guess Anderson was sort of a big name, and Schafer was still exciting. So maybe one might’ve been less enthusiastic about 2008’s starting outfield of Diaz, Kotsay, and Frenchy going into it, but it wouldn’t have taken long to change your mind.

    How far we’ve come – Prado, Bourn, and Heyward combined for 18.9 WAR in the outfield last season.

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