Justin Upton has been traded to the Atlanta Braves in a trade involving seven players, according to a Yahoo sports source, in what could be the biggest and most important move of the 2013 MLB off-season.
The Atlanta Braves will receive outfielder Justin Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks, but it comes at a price: going to the Diamondbacks is all-star Martin Prado, along with shortstop Nick Ahmed, pitchers Randall Delgado and Zeke Spruill, and minor league infielder Brandon Drury.
The Braves had already signed Justin Upton’s brother, BJ Upton, to a $75 million contract earlier this off season. The addition of Justin Upton makes the Braves’ outfield, consisting of the Upton brothers and Jason Heyward, the best in the MLB.
Heyward seemed happy to have the brothers in Atlanta and took to Twitter to express his thoughts.
“Waking up to Christmas in January,” Heyward tweeted.
Justin Upton, despite being an all-star caliber player, carries a very manageable contract at three-years, $38 million. He was picked number 1 in the 2005 draft and was projected to become the face of the Diamondbacks franchise, but the team decided to head in a different direction.
Trade rumors have swirled around Upton for months, and reports have surfaced that Upton wanted to leave Arizona because of the uncertainty surrounding his status with the team. He was allowed to veto any trade proposal, as he did earlier this off season when the Diamondbacks attempted to trade him to the Seattle Mariners.
Upton is only 25 but already has 6 seasons of experience under his belt. Over his career he has averaged .278 and hit 108 home runs, while posting an impressive .832 OPS, a measure that adds together on-base percentage plus slugging percentage. Upton had an impressive season in 2011, hitting .289 and hitting 31 home runs. But 2012 saw his production dip due to injuries, and he posted a meager .280 average while hitting 17 home runs.
Justin Upton has hit .278 with 108 homers and a .832 OPS since making his Major League debut during the 2007 season. The 25-year-old was one of the game’s top outfielders in 2011, hitting .289 with 31 homers and a .898 OPS. A thumb injury limited him this year to a .280 average with 17 homers and a .785 OPS.