What were they thinking?

by Jamie Gallagher

Thursday, January 24th left Atlanta Braves fans everywhere in despair. On this day, the news came that General Manager Frank Wren had traded Martin Prado to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In this seven player trade, Prado, along with four other players, went to Arizona, in exchange for third baseman Chris Johnson and outfielder Justin Upton coming to Atlanta. With the loss of Prado came the loss of an incredible talent, a treasured teammate, and a loveable fan favorite.

Let’s start with talent. Last year Martin Prado batted .301 with 10 homeruns, 70 RBIs, and a .359 on base percentage. He also had a total of 17 stolen bases. Prado was versatile, playing wherever the Braves needed him, whether it was left field, second base, or third base. Prado’s talent will be matched, if not exceeded, with the newly acquired Justin Upton. Upton showed similar stats last season with a .280 batting average, contributing 17 HRs, 67 RBIs, a .355 OBP, and 18 SBs. Upton is still young, and was a huge contributor to the future of the Diamondbacks. As he continues to mature and his talent continues to shine, he will become an even more valuable player to the Braves organization.

One thing Upton can’t replace is the camaraderie Prado had with his teammates and coaches. Seven years in the clubhouse made for strong bonds which made Prado a favorite among the players. With the retirement of Chipper Jones, many expected Prado to step up and be the leader of the clubhouse. Now, it’s anyone’s game. That is, if anyone wants it. New team leaders could be long time Braves’ Tim Hudson or Brain McCann. Hudson leads the team off the field with philanthropic endeavors, but on the field, he is just a pitcher. McCann might not have time to lead the team, as he works on his own on-field performance. With Prado’s departure now leaving a gaping hole in the team dynamic, how will the Braves fare as a clubhouse?

Now let’s get back to what started the panic, the fans. Prado is definitely a Braves fan favorite. He is a good player and a good person who always has a smile on his face. After seven years of getting to know and love a player, it is only natural for fans to cry out in pain when they hear he is moving out of their lives and to the other side of the country. Along with knowing they won’t see Prado’s smiling face every day, something else will cause frowns on the faces of Braves fans everywhere: the all too familiar notion of uncertainty when it comes to the Atlanta Braves.

With each new season comes a new hope that this will be the season of all seasons, the year of all years. Last year was the closest we got, and now with the retirement of Chipper Jones and the loss of Martin Prado, two long-time key players, fans will have doubts if the Braves can come back with a good team. This uncertainty can be met with a few names, one being Upton. Do I mean B.J. or Justin? Well, both. One can only hope that, since they are brothers, they will have chemistry that surpasses that of any two other players. That chemistry can combine with their talent to create an unstoppable force; one that might charm the fans the way that a certain someone’s smile charmed them once upon a time.

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