A big development occurred last night in the Justin Upton trade sweepstakes: he used a clause in his contract to veto a trade to the Seattle Mariners. That's a big development for at least two reasons. First, Seattle is out of play if the Arizona Diamondbacks wish to trade Upton, and second, we learned the prospects that Seattle would have sent to Arizona. Now we can compare those prospects and see what it might take for the Atlanta Braves to acquire their second Upton of the off-season.
According to MLBTR, the trade would have reportedly sent four players from Seattle to Arizona: SS Nick Franklin, LHP Charlie Furbush, RHP Stephen Pryor and RHP Taijuan Walker. So who would these prospects or players compare to in the Braves system?
Furbush has the most Major League experience, spending parts of the last two years in the bigs. He's a mid-20 year old reliever, who ended up there because he was a failed starter. I'm not really sure if any Braves player fits that mold. Cristhian Martinez is probably the closest, but he's a bit older. I guess the best thing to do is to figure out what Arizona would want with Furbush, and what equivalent need an Atlanta player would fill. I'm thinking they want an emerging lefty setup type guy, if Furbush can be called that, so Luis Avilan would probably fit best.
Taijuan Walker is the highest rated player of this group, largely considered the top 2 or 3 prospect in the M's system. Someone like J.R. Graham or Mauricio Cabrera from the Braves system would probably be the closest match. We'll go with Graham for his completion of double-A, where Walker was last year, but Walker is rated high enough that it would probably take Julio Teheran to get it done.
Pryor is a hard throwing reliever with a little bit of Major League time. Actually Arodys Vizcaino might have been a good comp, but he was traded last year to the Cubs. Since we're sticking with relievers for this spot, I'll overshoot and say new Braves reliever Jordan Walden would fit, as Pryor profiles as someone who might develop into a closer at some point.
And finally shortstop Nick Franklin. The easiest comp for him in the Braves system is shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed, and in some ways Ahmed would be a better prospect to stick long term at shortstop, as Franklin is considered by some destined for second base.
So now if we add all this up it would presumably take a package of J.R. Graham, Jordan Walden, Luis Avilan, and Nick Ahmed to get Justin Upton. Something tells me the D-Backs might want more than Avilan from our system, so we might have to substitute another pitching prospect (maybe even someone like Sean Gilmartin) in order to get a deal done.
That's a lot of prospects, but if that was what it took to get Upton, I think it's a price the Braves can afford to pay. And one they should pay to get a player like Upton. Atlanta is deep with pitching prospects, and surprisingly deep with shortstop prospects, so they would be dealing from depth. And Braves fans can rest easy knowing that Atlanta has proven they can quickly replenish their system with pitching depth.
Your move Frank.