Justin Upton Trade On Verge Of Happening

See which NL contender could make a deal for the All-Star within hours.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Diamondbacks are in serious trade talks with the Atlanta Braves and could deal outfield star Justin Upton in a matter of hours.

Here is the report released Wednesday:

The Diamondbacks want to decide whether to trade Justin Upton after more than a year of dangling the young star outfielder in the trade market, or Jason Kubel sometime in the next 48 hours. A deal could happen as soon as Wednesday. Arizona has been discussing a possible Kubel deal with Baltimore, and sources involved in the Upton talks said Atlanta has made a strong offer that is likely built around pitching.

In any Upton deal, the Braves probably would surrender a package of prospects that won't include young shortstop Andrelton Simmons, a player Arizona asked for earlier in this offseason, sources said.

Upton was once viewed by the Diamondbacks as a player they would build around for years to come, and at age 21, he hit 26 homers, scored 84 runs and drove in 86 runs. In March 2010, Arizona signed Upton to a six-year, $51.5 million deal. Arizona made the playoffs in 2011, and Upton finished fourth in the NL MVP voting.

But the Diamondbacks first started discussing possible Upton trades that fall, and after he got off to a poor start in 2012, Arizona owner Ken Kendrick criticized Upton and other players in a radio interview.

"I think Justin is an enigma at this point," he told 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."

Arizona again looked into trading Upton before the July 31 deadline last summer and continued to have discussions once this offseason began. It has become more and more apparent that the relationship between the Diamondbacks and Upton has been damaged, perhaps beyond repair. Upton may well welcome a deal at this point.

The Diamondbacks agreed to a proposed deal with Seattle earlier this month, but the Mariners are among four teams to which Upton could reject a trade, and he turned down the deal to Seattle.

Atlanta has emerged this week, feeling that Upton would be a good fit for its open spot in left field, and perhaps could be helped by playing alongside his brother, B.J.

It will be interesting if Upton can rebound from his tremendously disappointing 2012 season, especially if  he will be leaving hitter friendly Arizona and joining his brother in Atlanta. Either way, if you're targeting him in your upcoming fantasy draft, he will be a high risk/high reward pick.

Josh Helmuth is the editor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JHelmuthor subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.

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