Talks between the Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks with regards to Justin Upton are really picking up steam, as the Braves have made an offer that centers on one of two pitching prospects -- Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran -- and two others in exchange for the outfielder, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Eight weeks after signing B.J. Upton to the biggest free-agent contract in franchise history, the Braves are trying to land his brother, Arizona's Justin Upton...
The trade offer, which was being considered by the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night, was believed to include either of the Braves young starting pitchers Julio Teheran (most likely) or Randall Delgado, plus at least two other lesser players or prospects.
O'Brien adds that shortstop Nick Ahmed and outfielder Evan Gattis may be the other prospects included in the offer, but that right-hander J.R. Graham isn't thought to be involved. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports confirms O'Brien's information, but his sources believe that Graham's inclusion in the offer could be the key to completing the trade.
The 25-year-old Upton is owed $38.5 million over the next three seasons: $9.75 million in 2013, $14.25 million in 2014, and $14.5 million in 2015. The Braves' payroll currently sits at $85 million and the club is believed to have a ceiling of nearly $100 million, giving them plenty of room to add Upton without having to make any other changes.
The Texas Rangers are thought to be the only other club still in pursuit of Upton, though Passan reports that Texas has not come calling since well before the outfielder rejected a trade to the Mariners two weeks ago. The Rangers are also listed on Upton's no-trade clause.
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The righty slugger's addition would give the Braves an Upton-Upton-Heyward outfield, and allow for Martin Prado to finally settle in at third base full-time.
The D'Backs are also weighing an offer from the Balitmore Orioles on their other corner outfielder, Jason Kubel. The club is not expected to trade both outfielders, so if Kubel goes then the Upton deal will be dead in its tracks. It's hard to imagine that the D'Backs will get a better return from the O's than they can get from the Braves, but perhaps they value Upton too much to give him up for less than exactly they want.
Arizona GM Kevin Towers is leaving the country on Friday so if either trade is going to happen, it will be completed in the next 24 hours.