June 20, 2018
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Braves land Upton in 7-player deal; to join brother in outfield

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

The Atlanta Braves have acquired outfielder Justin Upton in a seven-player deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, ending months of speculation over where the 25-year-old would land.

Third baseman Chris Johnson also went to Atlanta, while pitcher Randall Delgado, infielder Martin Prado and minor leaguers Nick Ahmed, Brandon Drury and Zeke Spruill head to Arizona.

Upton gets to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing alongside his older brother, B.J. Upton, who signed with the Braves as a free agent over the winter.

“Bittersweet day for me,” Upton said in a tweet. “So happy to get the chance to play with my brother in Atlanta but will miss the city and the fans here in Phoenix.”

The younger Upton earlier invoked his limited no-trade rights to veto a trade that would’ve sent him to the Seattle Mariners. The Texas Rangers were also reportedly interested, but wouldn’t part with top prospect Jukickson Profar.

Atlanta’s outfield will now feature two Uptons and rising star Jason Heyward.

Justin Upton was selected first overall in 2005, and made his debut in 2007 at age 19. He hit 17 home runs and batted .280 in 628 plate appearances last season.

He has three years and $38.5 million left on his contract, including a $9.75 million salary in 2013.

The versatile Prado made the All-Star team in 2010 as a second baseman and played mostly in left field last year. He is expected to replace Johnson at third for the D-Backs. President Derrick Hall said via Twitter that the team wants to sign Prado to a long-term deal.

“This is the type of player we want in our lineup,” Hall wrote.

Delgado, 23, will compete for a spot in Arizona’s rotation. The righty went 4-9 with a 4.37 ERA in 18 appearances, 17 as a starter. He was 4-3 with a 4.06 ERA with Triple-A Gwinnett last season.

Johnson arrived in a July 29 with Houston. He batted .286 with seven doubles, seven homers and 35 RBIs in 44 games with Arizona.

“Really enjoyed my time in Arizona,” Johnson said in a tweet. “Thank you to the Diamondbacks organization and fans for your hospitality!”


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