Why the Martin Prado Trade Looks Bad for the Arizona Diamondbacks


Martin Prado is gone, 18 months after being traded for Justin Upton Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

I am a little surprised the Arizona Diamondbacks traded Martin Prado. I thought maybe he would have lasted until the end of the season when he could have finished off a second half that had begun so positively for him.  His value could have been higher at that point. Be that as it may, they landed a power-hitting Double A catching prospect from the New York Yankees named Peter O’Brien. The team is low on catching prospects and while O’Brien may eventually switch to another position, 33 home runs in two levels of Minor League ball this season is impressive. Still, it doesn’t feel as though the Snakes made out well on this deal and there is another reason for that.

Prado was the key player in the deal that sent Justin Upton and Chris Johnson to the Atlanta Braves, the others being Nick Ahmed, Randall Delgado and Zeke Spruill. Now 18 months later, he is gone. So in essence, the D’backs received a AAA pitcher (Spruill), a long reliever (Delgado), a potential Major League shortstop (Ahmed) and a Double A catcher (O’Brien) for a guy who finished fourth in the MVP race in 2011. Upton has 19 home runs and 62 RBI’s and a slash line of .287/.354/.511 this year, numbers that put him on pace to perhaps exceed his campagin from three years ago. Plus, he is only 26 and is under contract through 2015. Let’s also not forget the Johnson side of the equation. He finished second last year in the National League batting race at .321 and, after a slow start in 2014, has numbers that are on par with Prado’s. In addition, he is signed through 2017 for a total of $22.5 million dollars. Prado was due $20 million dollars through 2016.

By trading Prado, Gerardo ParraJoe Thatcher and Tony Campana, the D’backs have shaved of roughly $20 million dollars off next year’s payroll. That is not necessarily a bad thing and perhaps moving Prado now was the right move. In addition, getting from under a $20 million dollar deal for a team like the D’backs is no small feat. However, if you examine the other side of the Prado coin and see what was given up for him, it doesn’t look as pretty.