January 24, 2013
Thursday, January 24
Before the conclusion of the World Series, the Diamondbacks were expected to trade Justin Upton and keep Jason Kubel. Then, at the Winter Meetings, they were deemed more likely to trade Kubel and keep Upton. A month later, the D’backs agreed to a trade that would have sent Upton to the Mariners and probably resulted in Kubel staying in the desert—only to have Upton put the kibosh on the swap.
Fortunately, it appears that the end of the winter-long saga might finally be on the horizon. Without further ado, here’s an all Kubel-Upton edition of the Roundup…
Diamondbacks hope to make Kubel/Upton decision by Friday
According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, when the dust settles, either Kubel will head to Baltimore or Upton will join his older brother, B.J., in Atlanta. As of Wednesday evening, the latter scenario was considered more likely. But given the endless string of plot twists that have kept the Hot Stove burning over the past three months, even Rosenthal’s informed handicapping should be taken with a grain of salt.
Nevertheless, since Upton is the current favorite—well, assuming that Towers has not changed his mind again since last night—for the purposes of the Roundup, let’s break down the Braves’ version first. If Upton stays in Arizona or is shipped elsewhere, manager Fredi Gonzalez could use Juan Francisco as his primary third baseman and Martin Prado as his regular left fielder, with the latter occasionally spelling the former to create playing time for fourth outfielder Reed Johnson. Alternatively, Prado’s versatility could enable Gonzalez to use him in a multi-position platoon role, playing the hot corner when opponents start a left-hander and left field when they send a righty to the hill. In that case, Johnson, a right-handed hitter, would play left when Prado is at third, and Francisco, a left-handed hitter, would play third when Prado is in left.