Well, seemingly inevitable as it was that the Diamondbacks would trade their best player — Justin Upton — at some point this offseason, today the news became official. Arizona is sending Upton, along with 3B Chris Johnson, over to the Braves for 3B/OF Martin Prado, RHP Randall Delgado, and a few other names I don’t feel like looking up right now.
Basically, Kevin Towers shipped out his star for a bunch of guys the Braves didn’t need, who will not remotely be of the same consequence as the stud that is Upton. Big win today for Atlanta.
Concurrent with the news of Upton heading to the NL East, T.R. Sullivan writes that the Rangers are “out” on both Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn, the two best remaining free agents, so it appears as if the story of Texas’s offseason has abruptly reached its conclusion.
Jon Daniels and the Rangers’ front office embarked on a 2012-2013 offseason labeled as a “transition,” which is exactly what it turned out to be. With the obvious departures of Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster and Mike Adams, Texas also lost out on Koji Uehara to the Red Sox, as well as trading away their purported Face Of The Franchise, Michael Young. Transition indeed.
Running parallel with these losses was the demoralizing defeat the Rangers took in the public relations department. After all, the perception heading into the Winter Meetings was that they were prepared to make a splash, with even Nolan Ryan admitting the team might be able to sign both Zack Greinke, the #1 pitcher on the market, as well as Josh Hamilton. As it turned out, neither signing came into fruition, and Texas was forced to travel through different avenues.
Those roads led them to a couple players who’ve greatly drawn the evil eye of the Rangers’ fan base, as both A.J. Pierzynski and Lance Berkman were brought in on one-year deals to occupy starting positions left by fan favorites, Mike Napoli and Michael Young.
I don’t blame the Rangers for not re-signing Josh Hamilton, nor do I fault them for letting go of Mike Napoli, nor trading Michael Young. These were all necessary moves to help progress the franchise. The issue I have is that they let the perception be such that they were going to drastically alter the makeup of the roster through “big” signings or “major” trade acquisitions, and didn’t. In that regard, they failed.
Where they also failed was finding an apt replacement for the hole Josh Hamilton will be leaving in the middle of the lineup. Had Texas been willing to offer the final two years of Elvis Andrus‘s contract to ascertain the last 3 years of Justin Upton’s, the complexion of this offseason would look eerily different. After all, the person who will be replacing Elvis Andrus in two years, Jurickson Profar, is ready to go. To that end, I have no other words in our failure to trade for Justin Upton other than saying, yeah, we failed.
It could be the difference between second place and first.