The Atlanta Braves are said to be in hot pursuit of Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton and could make a trade for him in the upcoming days, reports CBSSports.com.
Upton hit 26 homers, scored 84 runs and drove in 86 runs at age 21 and in March 2010, the Diamondbacks rewarded him with a six-year, $51.5 million deal. Upton finished fourth in the NL MVP voting in 2011 after hitting 31 homers and driving in 88 runs. The team is also shopping outfielder Jason Kubel and the Orioles are one of the teams interested in his services.
The Braves are said by a source to have offered a "strong'' package. The Braves, who signed older brother B.J. Upton earlier this winter, have the type of young pitching to get a deal done for Justin Upton. Arizona is also believed to like young outfielder Evan Gattis. Their bigger need is for a leadoff hitter but, at least for the moment, they seem focused on Upton.Last season, Upton hit .280 with 17 homers and 67 RBI and has struck out 120 or more times in each of the past five seasons.
"I think Justin is an enigma at this point," Arizona owner Ken Kendrick told Phoenix radio station KTAR. "I know he had an injury early on and maybe a little bit of a nagging injury. But he's played. He's certainly not the Justin Upton that he has been in the past and that we would expect of him. He's 24 years old and it's time for him to be a consistent performer, and right now this year he's not been that."