Eric Graff: The Justin Upton/Chris Johnson Trade
I know Martin Prado was and pretty much still is an Atlanta fan favorite, but this move turned out to be such a win for the Braves. Put it this way, the throw in from the DBacks was Chris Johnson, who finished with the second highest batting average in the NL this season and was third on the team in offensive bWAR. Justin Upton was as good as we thought he would be, and I honestly think he is going to get better. His April was insane and he ended up leading the Braves in homers with 27, and was second on the team in offensive bWAR behind Freddie Freeman. All that the Braves gave up were Prado, who was going to be a free agent and unlikely resigned after the season, Randall Delgado, who could end up being a back of the rotation starter, and a bunch of spare parts. Overall, it was another great move by Frank Wren and will pay off for the Braves for years to come.
Mark Kolar: The return of Jordan Schafer
In Schafer’s first go around in Atlanta, I was on the forefront of the mob that wanted this man out of town. When the Braves resigned him this off-season, my first thought was “seriously…?”. I didn’t expect the man to make the opening day roster, or even sniff the majors this season.
But when it became apparent that B.J Upton was not right, Schafer proved everybody wrong, and went above and beyond the call of duty in my opinion during the season’s early months. Now, he has trailed off a bit in the second half, and the strikeout bug has bit him hard of late, but Schafer proved he is valuable asset to this team, and we saw him using his greatest weapon, his speed, as he led the team with 22 stolen bases.
Brad Rowland: The Justin Upton/Chris Johnson trade
I’m not sure this one is debatable. At the relatively low cost of Martin Prado (with only 1 year left on his contract at the time) and 3 prospects, Frank Wren went out and got two quality starting players in the off-season. We can debate the impact of Upton all day, but even with this (inexplicable) defensive woes, he’s been worth 2.6 bWAR and 3.2 fWAR in left field after a 27-home run season.
Even if the deal was just for Upton, it probably would’ve been a win based on the contract, but when you factor in a year that exceeded every expectation for Johnson at 3rd base, it becomes jokingly favorable. I wouldn’t predict a .321 batting average for Johnson next season, but he can legitimately hit, and with the Braves able to play Andrelton Simmons next to him on the left side of the field, the defensive limitations (which are great) are masked a bit.
Thanks, Kevin Towers.
Harris Nye: The Justin Upton/Chris Johnson trade
Probably the easiest choice on here as it was clearly the trade the Braves made to acquire Justin Upton and Chris Johnson. At the time, this was the Justin Upton trade and Johnson was the throw-in, but both players turned out to have a major impact on the 2013 Braves. By trading away Martin Prado in the last year of his contract, along with a group of decent but not great prospects, the Braves robbed Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers blind. It was one of the best moves any team made this off-season and easily the Braves best move. Despite losing Prado, Chipper Jones, and Michael Bourn in the off-season, the 2013 Braves managed to be better than the 2012 team. This brilliant trade was the biggest reason why and is yet another example of how well taken care of the Braves franchise is by Frank Wren.
Drew Wilburn: The Justin Upton/Chris Johnson trade
The best move of the offseason has to be the trade of Martin Prado and Randall Delgado for Justin Upton and Chris Johnson. Justin Upton put up spectacular numbers in stretches, although he did have some points in the season where he went cold for a bit. Chris Johnson, or the throw-in, had himself a decent season, as well, finishing with a .321 batting average that was good for second in the National League. These players have been key to several wins this season and have been fun to watch. Now, to see if Frank Wren will sell high on Johnson this offseason… Runner Up: Trading Tommy Hanson for Jordan Walden. Hanson did so poorly for LA that he got demoted to AAA and did poorly there, as well. Walden was a great arm out of the pen for us for a long stretch of the season.