When the Arizona Diamondbacks finally traded outfielder Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves following three straight offseasons of rumors, many fans of the team threw their arms up in disbelief.
“How could you trade a guy who was an All-Star twice and is only 25?”
“How could you give up on a guy with such incredible natural talent?”
“How could you look down on a player who trudged through a wrist injury all last season and still put up decent numbers?”
All valid questions at the time — and questions that have picked up more steam since Upton is off to a red-hot start for the team with the best record in the Majors.
But ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian doesn’t think Upton would be having that same success if he was still wearing the Sedona red of the Diamondbacks.
“I totally agree that (Upton) was not going to hit six home runs in his first seven games — no Brave has ever done that by the way — he wasn’t going to do that for the Diamondbacks,” Kurkjian told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 620 Thursday. “There had been too much damage done there, it was time for him to go — for himself and for the team.
“You can’t look back and say ‘oh, we really screwed that one up,’ you have to see how this plays out.”
As of Thursday, Upton is tied for the Major League lead in home runs with six and had a walk-off home run in a 6-5 win over the Chicago Cubs last week.
In his six seasons as a Diamondback, Upton never hit more than five homers in the season’s first month and had one walk-off blast.
“Justin Upton needed to go and he landed in a perfect spot on a very good team with his brother playing next to him and as comfortable as I’ve ever seen him,” Kurkjian said. “We’ll see how long he goes with this hot streak, but Diamondbacks fans should not look and say ‘we got robbed.’ You’re 6-3, you’re playing well — you have to look at it that way.”