Originally thought to have given up, and reportedly believing the Arizona Diamondbacks were never serious in the first place, the Atlanta Braves are still interested in outfielder Justin Upton.
The 25-year-old outfielder has reportedly been on the block since July, and tied to numerous teams, but according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Atlanta has tossed their hat back into the Upton sweepstakes.
“Folks involved in this process believe that the D-Backs want to make a decision on trading Kubel or Upton by Friday” Olney tweeted Wednesday.
“D-Backs talks with the Braves about JUpton have resumed; ATL said to be in hard on this. They're likely the frontrunner, if JUpton is dealt.
“The Diamondbacks have been reviewing the Braves' offer for Upton; some folks involved feel like it's a strong offer.”
The tweets also implicate outfielder Jason Kubel, who led the Diamondbacks in home runs and RBIs last season. At 30-years-old, Kubel has two years and $15 million left on his deal, but the second year is a team option and also has a $ 1 million buyout.
What Atlanta is offering is still unknown, but perhaps the Braves have broken down and shortstop Andrelton Simmons is now apart of the deal. The inclusion of Simmons was originally seen as a dealbreaker.
Upton is a career .278 hitter, and should he go to Atlanta, could team up with his brother B.J. and power hitter Jason Heyward, giving the Braves one of the best young outfields in the majors.
This is the latest news surrounding the two-time All-Star, as the Chicago Cubs were also approached a week ago. Reports suggested Arizona was keen on Cubs young shortstop Starlin Castro, a request Chicago abruptly rebuffed.
Even if the Cubs had gone through with the deal, Chicago is one of four teams that are on Upton’s no-trade list. He has the right to turn down a trade to the Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, and Toronto Blue Jays.
Upton already turned down a move to Seattle earlier this month, and that deal would have netted a minimum of four pitching prospects for Arizona.
It is believed the Diamondbacks are looking to rebuild a depleted farm system with young prospects, and Upton’s three-year deal worth $38 million coupled with his speed and power potential are their best trading pieces.