The Diamondbacks have traded Justin Upton again. This time, he’s actually going away. After he rejected a deal to Seattle, they’ve found a new trade partner in the Atlanta Braves, and have crafted a pretty interesting deal that isn’t at all similar to the one they previously tried to make.
In exchange for Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson, the Diamondbacks reportedly are going to receive Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Nick Ahmed, Zeke Spruill, and Brandon Drury. While they previously tried to trade him for a high risk/high reward pitching prospect and a middle infielder who is probably a year away from the big leagues, this trade doesn’t really make the Diamondbacks that much worse in 2013, and appears to be more of a win-now kind of trade.
With Prado, the Diamondbacks finally get the third baseman they’ve been looking for, and a pretty good one at that. No, he’s not going to repeat the +6 WAR season he put up last year, which was driven by an outlier UZR, but he’s got a nice base of skills that should allow him to remain an above average player. He makes a ton of contact and has some pull power that should play well in Arizona, and he’s probably at least an average defender at third base. In his career, Prado has averaged +3.4 WAR per 600 PA — exactly the same mark that ZIPS projected for Upton this year, by the way — and at age 29, he shouldn’t be in for a huge drop-off. The D’Backs probably get an equivalent upgrade at third base to the downgrade they’ll receive in the outfield, and then they also get some more pitching depth and three prospects of some value.
From just a 2013 perspective, this deal probably doesn’t move the needle that much. Both teams received one above average player, and no one else in the deal is likely to make a huge impact at the big league level this year. It’s the years after this one that will determine whether this trade was worth it for both sides.
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