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Diamondbacks GM: Upton trade good for player, team

LISTEN: Kevin Towers, D-backs' General Manager

Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said all along he was not necessarily looking to move Justin Upton.

A guest of Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Thursday, Towers even said he didn’t expect anything to happen as recently as a couple days ago.

“I would have said 72 hours ago Justin Upton would have started the season as a Diamondback, we had pretty much exhausted everything after the Seattle deal fell through,” Towers said. “In the last 48 hours Prado came into the deal, Ahmed came into the deal.”

Towers said those players were not offered by the Braves before, and their inclusion into the talks led to the trade that was made Thursday. In exchange for Upton and infielder Chris Johnson the D-backs will receive infielder/outfielder Martin Prado, starting pitcher Randall Delgado, shortstop Nick Ahmed, pitcher Zeke Spruill and infielder Brandon Drury.

The GM, who’s had a busy offseason, said he’s not necessarily in the business of “winning the deal”, but instead hopes both teams benefit. He certainly believes his did.

“Martin Prado, an unsung hero over there in Atlanta,” he said. “I’ve looked at him a lot from the other side and I’m glad he’s wearing our uniform now.”

Prado, 29, hit .301 with 10 home runs and 70 RBI for the Braves last season. He was an All-Star in 2010, and has the ability to play many different positions.

“He’s got Gold Glove votes at second, at third, in left; he’s had MVP votes, he’s been an All-Star,” Towers said. “Just a baseball player.”

Towers compared Prado’s mindset to that of current D-backs Gerardo Parra, Miguel Montero and Aaron Hill, saying he’s “a grinder” who fans will enjoy watching play baseball.

However, a lot of fans enjoyed watching Upton.

A former number one overall selection, Upton is a two-time All-Star who has also earned MVP votes. And while he had a down year last season, he is still viewed as a player with an enormous amount of potential.

Towers understands that, but admits it would have been tough for Upton to return to Arizona after the team tried to trade him.

“I’m sure those questions, he would have wanted to focus and get ready to play,” Towers said. “But with his teammates, and when it comes to playing and performing, I never ever questioned his desire to play and to compete.”

That said, Towers believes Upton — as well as the team — could each benefit from a change. The player gets to play in Atlanta with his brother, and the D-backs are able to move on from an era that was filled with as much disappointment as excitement.

“This kid was brought up at a very young age, he has a lot of talent. A lot was put on his shoulders very early as kind of the face of the franchise, expectations through the roof,” Towers said. “It’s hard to live up to that when you’re 22 and 23 and 24 years old.

“I think going to a place where he’ll blend in, be able to play with a lot of good players, a new face, didn’t come up through their system, I think it will be better for Justin. And I think it will be better for our organization, as well.”