ATLANTA — With one late January move, Braves general manager Frank Wren altered the course of his franchise’s season, bringing in Justin Upton and Chris Johnson to square away one of baseball’s best lineups on one of baseball’s best teams. At least that’s how the Atlanta-Arizona blockbuster looks now.
When Wren pulled the trigger on what was appropriately dubbed the “Justin Upton Trade,” giving up Martin Prado, Randall Delgado and a couple minor league players, it was viewed as a steal. Receiving a potential MVP candidate in the prime of his career for what amounted to solid but not superstar talent in return will have that effect — and the Braves were immediately considered winners.
Through one month — and with Justin Upton leading the league with 12 home runs and Johnson leads the National League in batting average (.369) — it looks like an all-time great deal for the Braves.
Special guest Ricky Mast, a former MLB Fan Cave dweller, joins the Chopcast team to discuss the month and fast start that was, plus more Braves news and irrelevant notes. Here are the highlights:
— Just how difficult was the Braves’ path to the top record in the National League? Are the team’s minor struggles on road any cause for concern?
— What’s life like in the MLB Fan Cave and what are the rules? (Plus, much more on this subject thanks to Jay Clemons’ undying curiosity on all things TV-related.)
— Julio Teheran remains the only undefeated starter in the Braves’ rotation despite his early-season ups and downs. Is he showing signs of promise? Does he get any credit for the team being 5-0 in his outings this season?
— Fun game: How would Ricky Mast’s father describe the Braves’ starting lineup?
— Back to the Upton trade. Will Wren’s move eventually rival those that brought in the likes of John Smoltz and Fred McGriff into the organization? What’s the definition of highway robbery in MLB trades?