The San Diego Padres have acquired outfielder Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first said on Friday.
In return, the Braves will receive a boatload of prospects. Young lefty Max Fried, second base prospect Jace Peterson, third base prospect Dustin Peterson, and outfielder Mallex Smith will go to the Padres, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and Jim Bowden of ESPN. Heyman reports that the Padres will also receive a low-level prospect along with Upton.
The Padres have been really busy this offseason, acquiring Upton, Matt Kemp, and Wil Myers for their outfield, acquiring catcher Derek Norris, and signing the likes of Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow to beef up their rotation. They have wanted right-handed power in their outfield, and the acquisitions of Upton, Kemp, and Myers represent that. At Petco Park, righty power is a weapon.
The 27-year-old Upton becomes a free agent at the end of next season, so the price the Padres paid for him may be an overpayment. They, without a doubt, will try to extend him, but he will likely test the open market for the first time in his career. Last season, Upton won a Silver Slugger, hitting .270/.342/.491 with 29 home runs and 102 runs batted in over 641 plate appearances. Upton registered a 133 wRC+.
In 192 plate appearances out at Petco Park, the power-hitting Upton has posted some really promising numbers. He has hit .291/.359/.541 with 10 homers and 19 runs batted in over that stretch. That could mean that Upton has a real good year out in San Diego this season.
But the Padres didn't get Upton for nothing. They gave up one of their top prospects, Max Fried, in order to acquire him. Fried, ranked as baseball's 55th-best prospect prior to this season (by Baseball America), posted a 0-1 record with a 5.06 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched this season. His season ended due to Tommy John surgery on August 20, as he missed most of the year with the injury.
Jace Peterson is a former 1st round pick in 2011, Dustin Peterson was their second round pick last year, and Mallex Smith was their fifth round pick in 2012. Jace Peterson appeared in the major leagues last season, while Dustin and Mallex Smith are still in the lower levels of the minor leagues.
The Braves got themselves a nice return for Upton, as they look to be in between a rebuilding phase and a contending phase. They signed Nick Markakis earlier this year, but also dealt Jason Heyward along with Upton. They seem to be in an interesting spot right now.