Justin Upton, long-time monster under my bed, is gone. But I'm kind of worried the Diamondbacks got better.
Source: Braves get Justin Upton and Chris Johnson from D-backs for Prado, Delgado, Ahmed and Spruill.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) January 24, 2013
That's the deal. That would be Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Nick Ahmed, and Zeke Spruill. Delgado is a young pitcher of some renown, Ahmed is a 22-year-old shortstop, and Spruill is a young, tall right-hander of lesser renown.
Upton for prospects -- and I've never been wild about Delgado, who would be the prospect centerpiece -- sounds like a great deal on the surface, but I've said for last year that the only way an Upton trade made sense for the Diamondbacks was if they got a young third baseman in return. Prado ain't exactly what I had in mind, as he's 29 and a free agent after the year. But for next year, consider this: Which combo would you rather have?
Cody Ross and Martin Prado
Chris Johnson and Justin Upton
I go with the former. If you use last year's WAR, it's not close, but I'm kind of eyeballing it. Ross and Prado are viable starters. Upton most definitely is, but Johnson probably isn't. So the Diamondbacks had a hole in the lineup, and now they don't.
After the season, if they can't sign Prado? I guess that's up to the youngsters. I was worried the Diamondbacks wouldn't find a young shortstop on the market ... phew, guess that was a close call. Delgado is supposed to have a big arm, but I've never been blown away when I watched him pitch. Note that I'm kind of a moron when it comes to young-player evaluation like that, so feel free to make your own opinions. Smart people seem to like him.
I still think Upton is going to go nuts one of these years, so I'm thrilled it's not with the Diamondbacks. Still, I think in 2013, the Giants' biggest competition might have improved, even if just a little. That's not even considering the prospects, either.
Edit: So I wrote the above after, like, five minutes of contemplation. You totally couldn't tell, could you?!? But I'd like to add an addendum.
Addendum: I'm thrilled, thrilled, thrilled that the Diamondbacks got rid of Justin Upton, who was supposed to be around for three more years. I don't think that got across with the insta-analysis up there. If there's a team that has the potential to look back in three years and just laugh about this deal, it's the Braves. And, by proxy, the Giants.
And when I wrote that the Diamondbacks might have won in the short term, I was comparing the Diamondbacks of January 23 to the Diamondbacks of today. Now, if you're going on the Diamondbacks from the end of last season ... I have no idea what they're doing. They traded an expensive Chris Young to bring in an expensive, older Cody Ross. They're holding on to Jason Kubel, even though he was dreadful in the second half last year, and he ain't getting younger. They treated Upton and Trevor Bauer as players they absolutely had to trade, which couldn't have helped their value.
What would an Upton/Bauer package have returned in 2011? Bryce Harper? I mean, probably not ... but it would have been something absurd. Instead: A year of Prado, a raffle ticket in Delgado, and a couple of dink-slap shortstops. Huh.
For next year -- just next year -- it's not crazy to think Prado will be better than Upton, or that the combo of Prado/Ross is preferable to Johnson/Upton. That's still true, and I kind of have a 2013 focus right now. But that doesn't mean this was a smart trade for the Diamondbacks.
I'll say this, though: Bootsy's Rubber Band came on the radio right as I was finishing this, so it looks like I'm the real winner here.