The Justin Upton Trade: Why I don't like it

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The Diamondbacks pulled the trigger today on a 7-player trade with the Atlanta Braves, with the key player being Justin Upton.

When I saw the package the Diamondbacks got in return for Justin Upton, the first thing that crossed my mind was disbelief.

To be fair, I am higher on Upton than most, as I think he is a star-caliber player signed for three more seasons at a reasonable price.

My second thought, and I am going to qualify everything that I am about to say with this, is that the Diamondbacks must know something about Upton that the general public does not. I am going to give my following opinion based on what I know personally, but with the possibility that there is a major factor in play here that we do not know about.

I think the Braves handily won this deal, and then some.

Justin Upton is 25 years old, making $38.5 million over the next three seasons, and has been worth 17.1 fWAR in his career. If Upton follows anything resembling the normal aging curve, then he will be one of the best players in baseball over the next three seasons, while making a shade under $13 million on average.

Martin Prado is a very good player in his own right and was worth 5.9 fWAR last season, but he is only controlled for one more year and is going to arbitration very soon. A lot of Prado's value last season came from boosts in his fielding and baserunning statistics, which would lease me to question if he can repeat it again next season. Arizona plans to use him at third, which will make him very valuable as he has posted a career wRC+ of 111.

The Diamondbacks also received talented pitching prospect Randall Delgado. Delgado is a 21-year old right-handed pitcher who already has 127.2 Major League innings, but still carries the risk of being a young pitcher.

The other members of the deal do not profile to be anything more than role players, but either way this deal is really about the Upton-Prado-Delgado aspect.

What sells this deal as a landslide for the Braves is that Upton is probably a better player than Prado, but he is also controlled for three seasons as opposed to the one season that Prado is signed for. As fellow BtBer Matt Hunter pointed out to me, this gives Arizona a better chance to resign Prado, but I disagree because we cannot factor this into the deal because we just do not know.

To put it very literally, Arizona traded three years of a 25-year old with a good chance to post at least 3-4 fWAR per year, for one year of a 29-year old who will probably be in the 3-4 win range and the potential to add a draft pick and the slot-money that would come with that pick (as well as Delgado and other minor prospects). This is all without considering Upton's sizeable upside, with a chance to provide a good amount of excess value of the course of this deal.

I will say again because it is important to remember: The Diamondbacks may know something that we do not. If this is not the case however, Atlanta walks away with a clear win.

What do you guys think?

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