5 Best and 5 Worst Trades of the Atlanta Braves Rebuild: Part 1
Braves trade OF Justin Upton to San Diego for SP Max Fried, 2B Jace Peterson, OF Mallex Smith and OF Dustin Peterson.
The driving force behind this trade was simple. Justin Upton was a year from becoming a free agent and Atlanta had zero chance at resigning him. And since a rebuild was on the way, the best option was to move him for as much future value as possible.
San Diego provided that value as they were in the midst of “going for it”, the famous motto that’s been responsible for some of the worst trades ever.
This is one isn’t looking much different.
San Diego’s effort to contend fell flat that year and Upton walked at the end of the year. Atlanta meanwhile got what looks like 4 major league caliber players out of the deal.
- Mallex looks like at worst a solid fourth outfielder and at best a solid starting center fielder.
- Jace has carved out a nice role as a major-league utility player with quite a bit of positional versatility.
- Dustin was the breakout player of the year in Atlanta’s system looking like a solid everyday left field option.
But the true gem of this trade was Max Fried who was only available because he had recently had Tommy John surgery and his future was much more in question. Fried is healthy now and the stuff that made him a top prospect before the injury returned after the injury.
For my money, he’s the best pitching prospect in Atlanta’s system and should he reach his potential, Fried for one year of Justin Upton will be historically bad for San Diego regardless of what the other guys do.
Braves trade SP Shelby Miller for CF Ender Inciarte, SS Dansby Swanson, and SP Aaron Blair.
What else? I said before, Coppy wasn’t finished taking advantage of the ineptitude out in the desert and with this trade, he had his Mona Lisa.
I’m not sure the impact of this trade can be overstated. It changed two franchises.
More from Tomahawk Take
- Atlanta Braves 2023 Preseason Top 30 Prospects List: 16-20
- Braves News: Reacting to Dansby’s departure, Michael Brantley, more
- Atlanta Braves: Best Option at Shortstop Now That Dansby Swanson is Gone
- Atlanta Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos’ views on the offseason so far
- Braves News: Dansby goes to the Cubs, prospect rankings, more
For Arizona, it ended a regime. Dave Stewart brought it up by name in a recent interview after being let go as one he regretted. Good call, Dave.
Since then, Arizona has fully implemented analytics into their decision making and since they were the last holdout, you could say this trade ended the “old school” way teams are run. It was that bad.
For Atlanta, it accelerated a rebuild by maybe 2 or 3 years. They got two franchise cornerstone position players at arguably the two most important positions on the field and did it at a time when the system was very arm heavy.
All this, plus Blair, for Shelby Miller, who while a good pitcher, probably wasn’t worth Inciarte by himself.
It was a heist at a level the Ocean’s 11 would’ve been envious of and it sent two franchises in two different directions.
Next: Who Are Some Other Trade Possibilities?
Part 2 Coming Soon: The 5 Worst Trades.