Trade rumors have Braves pursuing Dbacks’ Upton

ATLANTA — B.J. Upton is excited about the possibility of a family reunion in the Braves’ outfield.

Upton signed a five-year, $75.25 million contract with Atlanta in November. After hearing the Braves may be pursuing a trade with Arizona for his younger brother, Justin Upton, B.J. said on his Twitter account:

“Wow these (at)JUS10UP10 rumors have me excited. Please don’t tease me like this… Would be a dream come true if it happens.”

Braves general manager Frank Wren said Wednesday the team has payroll flexibility to make another move. Wren would not say if the team is pursuing Justin Upton.

“We continue to monitor what’s available on the market,” Wren said. “If we feel like there’s something that can help us and get us over the top, we’re going to continue to explore. We have flexibility in talent and prospects if we get in a trade situation and we have financial flexibility to add payroll. If those opportunities present themselves, we’ll be in the mix.”

The Upton brothers and right fielder Jason Heyward would give the Braves one of baseball’s best outfields. Heyward won his first Gold Glove in 2012, when he hit .269 with 27 homers and 82 RBIs.

Justin Upton, 25, had his best year in 2011, when he hit .289 with 31 homers and 88 RBIs and finished fourth in the MVP voting. He hit .280 with 17 homers, 67 RBIs and 18 stolen bases last season.

Martin Prado is expected to move from left field to third place to replace Chipper Jones, who has retired.

At his first news conference after signing with the Braves, B.J. Upton said he and his brother want to play in the same outfield.

“That’s been a big, big topic of conversation,” said B.J. Upton.

The Diamondbacks had agreed to a deal to trade Justin Upton to Seattle earlier this month but the player vetoed it. Seattle was among four teams that Upton’s contract that he could nix. Atlanta is not on that list.

Upton has been the subject of trade speculation throughout the offseason. He is the most marketable of Arizona’s glut of outfielders. The outfield became more crowded with the free agent signing of Cody Ross late last month.

Arizona also could clear room in the outfield by trading left fielder Jason Kubel, who reportedly has interest from Baltimore.

Justin Upton is due $38.5 million in the final three years of his contract, making him affordable under today’s salary standards.

The Braves’ current projected payroll is about $83 million — about $10 million less than last year.

Justin Upton’s agent, Larry Reynolds, declined comment.

If the Braves don’t add another outfielder, Juan Francisco could play third base against right-handers with Prado in left field. Francisco struggles against left-handers, so Prado could moving to third base against left-handers while Reed Johnson starting in left field.

Other options in the outfield include Jose Constanza and Jordan Schafer.

The most attractive option might be adding another Upton.

“If we can upgrade our offense then we’re open to whatever,” Wren said.

More in Sports

Hannah Ganashamoorthy practices on the hurdles Wednesday afternoon at Monroe High School in Monroe on April 18, 2018. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Monroe freshman is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ athlete, says coach

Hannah Ganashamoorthy, 15, is already one of the top-ranked track-and-field athletes in the state.

Tips’ hometown hero Wylie surges up NHL prospect rankings

The defenseman was recently No. 71 among North American skaters in the final pre-draft rankings.

Silvertips vs. Americans preview: How they stack up

Tri-City is on a roll, but Everett has been the better team over the long haul.

Thursday’s prep results

Here are Thursday’s prep results, with links: BASEBALL Wesco 4A Cascade 8,… Continue reading

Seahawks’ 2018 schedule revealed

Seattle opens on the road at Denver and has the maximum five primetime games on its 2018 slate.

Morton dominates as Astros silence Mariners again

The Houston starter tosses 7 innings of 3-hit ball in a 9-2 win over Seattle.

POLL RESULTS: Voters heavily pick Tips for conference title

Nearly four-fifths of responders backed Everett to beat Tri-City in the Western Conference finals.

BLOG: It is the eve of the Western Conference finals

So here we are the night before the Western Conference finals begin.… Continue reading

Art Thiel: Should Seahawks make QB Jackson their top pick?

With Russell Wilson’s contract up after the 2019 season, it’s a move that makes sense in a lot of ways

Most Read