The Padres are close to trading for Braves outfielder Justin Upton. Jeff Passan and Ken Rosenthal led the way on these reports this morning, which have now been confirmed by multiple reporters.
At the moment it appears as though the Padres will get Upton for a package of prospects. Jim Bowden says the Braves will receive pitching prospect Max Fried and infielder Jace Peterson. Jeff Passan says Mallex Smith will be included as well. It is unclear if anyone else will be involved. Such a package does seem much lighter than what the Braves had been reportedly requesting for Upton, however.
Fried underwent Tommy John surgery in August but was one of the game’s top pitching prospects before blowing out his elbow. If he recovers he could be a top prospect once again. Peterson, the Padres’ first round pick in 2011, was overmatched in a small handful of at bats with the Padres last season. He has been a pretty effective hitter in the minors, however. Smith is a speedster — he had 88 steals across two levels last year — and a nifty line of .310/.403/.432. He has a .383 OBP in 1217 minor league plate appearances. He’ll turn 22 in May.
For the Padres part, they’ll get Justin Upton for one year before he hits free agency. They’ll also, presumably, get a first round draft pick for him in the event they make a qualifying offer to him next fall and he leaves via free agency.
If and when this trade is completed, it will just be the latest of a zillion Padres moves in the past several days. They’ve added Wil Myers in an 11-player trade. They’ve added Matt Kemp. They’ve acquired Derek Norris. They’re re-signing Josh Johnson. They signed Brandon Morrow.
Now Upton. It’s a total makeover for San Diego under new general manager A.J. Preller. Particularly in the outfield, where they’ll have added three bats in Upton, Kemp and Myers with the potential (potential in Myers case anyway) to be game-changers for the team’s perpetually-suffering offense. Of course, it’s possible Myers could play some first base too, allowing Kemp to move to a corner (where he belongs, frankly) to better manage the vast dimensions of Petco Park. In that case Cameron Maybin could cover center and, in turn, be expected to provide way less offense than they asked him to give in the past.