Kevin Towers Claims He Is Confident In Trading Justin Upton And Believes The Diamondbacks Got An All-Star Player In Martin Prado
The Justin Upton sweepstakes is finally over, but there’s a family twist involved now. Justin is headed for a family reunion in Atlanta. The Diamondbacks dealt Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson to the Braves for infielder Martin Prado, pitcher Randall Delgado, shortstop Nick Ahmed, third baseman Brandon Drury and pitcher Zeke Spruill.
Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers hopes the trade works out for both sides, but has no regrets about making the deal.
Kevin Towers joined XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix with Bickley and MJ to discuss trading Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves, getting Martin Prado signed to an extension next year, Justin Upton’s time with the Arizona Diamondbacks being productive, the possibility of keeping Justin Upton given the amount of times that the Diamondbacks tried to trade him and the risk involved in trading Justin Upton for young prospects.
Tell us why you believe that you got the best deal for Justin Upton in trading him to Atlanta?
“Well, we like Martin Prado. I think for our fans whoever has watched Atlanta come into town that he has done a lot of damage against the Diamondbacks over the years. He does not strike out. He is a high contact guy. He’s had 42 doubles and double the doubles that Justin had last year. He’s always had a high on base percentage. He’s got a high slugging percentage. He’s had Gold Glove votes not only out in left field, but second base. He was an All-Star at second base in 2010 and just a guy that is going to put the ball in play and make hard contact and making us be able to play hit and run a little more than we did in the past and we really like the prospects we got. Randall Delgado throws up to 96 mph with a 70 mph in change. The breaking ball has a way to go, but he’s somebody who will vie for a fifth spot in our starting rotation. Nick Ahmed. He’s a middle infielder who stole 40 bases last year. He could probably play second or short or third. Zeke Spruil throws a hard sinker at 91/92 mph. He’s got a forkball. He pitched very well in the fall league this year. Again, I had saw him and Brandon Drury is a third basemen/first basemen that is like a Troy Tulowitzki. They are real good friends and he has been working with him. We think he is a guy that has a good chance to be an offensive and defensive player, so we feel like we got an All-Star caliber, every day major league player in a position of needs at third base and four good prospects to add to our good farm system.”
What are your chances of getting Martin Prado to sign on for next year and get an extension?
“Well, I would say it’s probably not a good deal if he elects for free agency a year from now, so we’ve already started that process and talked to Peter Greenberg and I know his agent. I had good dialogue with Martin Prado today. I’ve already talked with him three times and I am cautiously optimistic that we’ll have him here long term.”
Why didn’t it work out for Justin Upton with the Diamondbacks?
“I wouldn’t say it didn’t work out. He’s been a pretty productive player over the years. I would say that we had the outfield depth. We are trying to put our organization not only in the short term, but the long term would have enough prospects and depth and everything where we wouldn’t have to go into this crazy free agent market. I think we have seen where the numbers have started to go this year with more TV money and the numbers are only going to get worse. I think now we are in a position that we’ve got depth at all these positions. We like our ball club. It really was a deal that presented itself and I think it improves our club. A lot of people won’t see it that way and I guess we’ll only know a year from now or two years from now when the prospects start to come up here if it was a good deal or a bad deal. I hate to judge deals. It happens all the time. No different than Mark Teixeira. I think when Mark Teixeira left and went to Atlanta most people thought that Atlanta won that deal. Well in the long run Texas won that deal when you are looking at the players that helped them make two World Series.”
After exploring so many trades with Justin Upton would it have been hard to bring him into spring training this year with the Diamondbacks?
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Justin no matter what. I am sure it would have been difficult for both of us probably prior to games starting and the season starting the topic would be, how does it feel to be on a ball club that’s traded you and being out there two and half years. I think he’s matured now where it is a business and you don’t exactly get it, but it is what it is. My job is to focus on playing the game and being a productive player. I could say it would have stung a little bit, but we would have gotten through it.”
What is your anxiety level in trading Justin Upton? Where does this trade rank for you?
“You know what, if I had white knuckles I wouldn’t have done it. To me when I make a deal I am 100%. I got a conviction that I want to do the deal. I don’t worry about what the player may ultimately become. All I care about is the players I am getting in return. The best deals are the ones that benefit both sides. I hope Justin Upton goes on to have a great career and helps the Atlanta Braves win a division title and I hope that Martin Prado and Randall Delgado and the young prospects we have help us win a division title and hopefully we meet in October and all win.”
Listen to Kevin Towers on XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix here