Yes, now we can assume Jason Kubel is off the trade block and off the Orioles’ radar.
Frankly, he wasn’t exactly in the center of their radar, but now the outfielder is expected to stay with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who agreed to trade young star Justin Upton and infielder Chris Johnson to the Atlanta Braves -- pending physical -- for five players, including infielder-outfielder Martin Prado, high upside right-hander Randall Delgado and three minor leaguers, according to several reports.
Let's get a couple of your questions out of the way (because I know there will be some. I am afraid to check my Twitter account).
How interested were the Orioles in Kubel?
The best I could uncover is lukewarm. They had discussions in December and felt the asking price was too high. They revisited talks recently -- I assume prompted by the Diamondbacks -- and the asking price wasn't as severe. If it dipped low enough, the Orioles would have made a move. But the Orioles got the sense that they were a backup plan, and Arizona was more interested in dealing Upton for a package of players.
Although the Orioles definitely need another power bat, Kubel was somewhat redundant as a left-handed hitter with limited defensive abilities. You can read Ed Encina's piece about that.
So it didn’t happen.
How interested were the Orioles in Upton?
Very interested, because he has the potential to be a longtime star. But that comes at a major cost. And, I know you’ve heard this before, without including Manny Machado or Dylan Bundy, the Orioles have no shot at such a player. And they aren’t including those guys, hence, no fit. Don’t try to compare Delgado to any of the Orioles’ other young pitchers (the Britton, Arrieta types); scouts and executives don’t think it is close.
Would the Diamondbacks flip Prado?
The Orioles have always liked Prado, but I can’t imagine Arizona immediately would trade the only recognizable name in this deal. And though the Diamondbacks technically still have a crowded outfield, Prado almost certainly will play third base for Arizona. So let’s just walk away from trade rumors with no punch for a while.
What do you think of the trade?
I absolutely love Upton as a player. And the Braves’ outfield combination of the Upton brothers and Jason Heyward is, to quote the kids today, sick. I recently did 2013 predictions for a magazine and I had the Washington Nationals winning the division and the Braves getting a wild-card berth (just like 2012). I stand by that -- but this trade made me a little uncomfortable about not taking the Braves to win the division. So, I love it for the Braves and not so much for Arizona (though I’m also a fan of the way Prado plays and know little to nothing about the prospects besides what you and I read).
Any Orioles connections to mention here?
Yep, Chris Johnson was part of this deal. He is the son of Triple-A Norfolk’s manager Ron Johnson.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun