PHOENIX (USA TODAY) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks talked about a divorce threeyears ago with All-Star outfielder Justin Upton, and finally, afternumerous ups and downs, name-calling and finger-pointing, they called itquits.
The Diamondbacks and the Atlanta Braves have agreed on theparameters of a deal according to a Diamondbacks official who spoke toUSA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the team had notannounced the trade.
And just like that, nearly seven years tothe day Upton signed with the Diamondbacks as the No. 1 pick in thecountry, becoming a two-time All-Star and the face of the franchise, heis gone.
The only question was who was more ecstatic by the news,the Diamondbacks or the Upton family? Justin joins his older brother,B.J., for the first time in their professional careers. B.J. signed afive-year, $75 million free-agent contract in November, meaning theBraves will be paying $113.5 million to the Upton brothers. Justin isowed $9.75 million this year, $14.25 million in 2014 and $14.5 millionin 2015.
The D-Backs also sent third baseman Chris Johnson to theBraves for pitcher Randall Delgado, infielder/outfielder Martin Prado,minor league shortstop Nick Ahmed, pitcher Zeke Spruill and thirdbaseman Brandon Drury, according to multiple sources.
It's a stunning and dramatic reversal from just three years ago whenthe Diamondbacks signed Upton to a six-year, $51 million contract,organizing a marketing campaign around him and even having a section inright field called "Uptown'' in his honor.
Now, after engagingin trade talks all winter with nearly a dozen teams, the Diamondbacksmade a deal that Upton couldn't veto, one day before general managerKevin Towers is scheduled to leave to South Africa on vacation.
Upton, 25, secretly wanted out of Arizona as much as the Diamondbacks wanted to trade him.
He was livid by the constant trade rumors, and the D-backs' refusal tostop shopping him. He never officially demanded a trade, but informedthe Diamondbacks that he would welcome one, realizing it might be ineveryone's best interest. Still, he nixed a deal with the SeattleMariners two weeks ago because the team was on his no-trade list.
The Diamondbacks became privately disenchanted with Upton last season.They questioned whether he would ever live up to his hype, believing hewould be a solid major-league player but not a superstar. They weretroubled by his wild inconsistencies and strikeout rate, believing hegrossly underachieved when he batted .280 with 17 homers and 67 RBI in2012. Only a year earlier he finished fourth in the NL MVP voting,hitting .289 with 31 homers and 88 RBI, leading the Diamondbacks to theNL West title.
"He's certainly not the Justin Upton that he hasbeen in the past and that we would expect of him,'' Diamondbacks ownerKen Kendrick said in June. "He's 24 years old, and it's time for him tobe a consistent performer. Right now this year he's not been that."
There were also whispers questioning Upton's work habits, whichinfuriated his agent, Larry Reynolds, who angrily released a statementin July to USA TODAY Sports.
"I know trade rumors and trades arepart of the business,'' Reynolds told USA TODAY Sports. "What I don'tlike are the comments and innuendos made about Justin's work ethic andcharacter, especially from those gutless people that don't want to puttheir name by a quote or article.
"This young man is one of thehardest workers I've been around and more importantly, he's a goodperson. If they want to trade him, that's their business, just knock offthe unfounded, negative rhetoric."
The relationship between the Diamondbacks and Upton grew ugly of lateafter the season. Upton informed the team that he would beuncomfortable performing community work as long as the Diamondbacks weretrying to trade him. He also requested that the "Uptown'' sign comedown. The D-backs, miffed, granted his request with the signage, butmaintained that the trade talks simply are part of the business.
The Diamondbacks were angrier that Upton rejected the trade to theMariners. Arizona would have received one of three prized pitchingprospects -- Taijuan Walker, James Paxton or Danny Hultzen -- relieversCharlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor, and shortstop Nick Franklin. TheDiamondbacks asked Upton to reconsider, and he refused.
Uptonreiterated this week that the Diamondbacks were wasting their timetalking to the four teams on his recently submitted no-trade list. Hewas not willing to play for Seattle, the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston RedSox or Chicago Cubs. The Diamondbacks believed the list was anegotiating ploy, but Upton told them it wasn't about the money. He didnot want to play for those franchises.
The Diamondbacks engagedin the lengthiest trade talks with the Texas Rangers. The Rangers badlywanted Upton, but refused to part with All-Star shortstop Elvis Andrusor prized prospect Jurickson Profar.
The Diamondbacks and Bravesalso discussed Upton in December, but the talks went nowhere when theBraves would not trade shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Yet, with nowhere toturn, and the Diamondbacks having already acquired young shortstop DidiGregorius from the Cincinnati Reds in a three-way deal in December,they were willing to accept the Braves' package of prospects.
The Diamondbacks, who created the surplus of outfielders when theysigned free-agent Cody Ross to a three-year, $26 million contract, hadalso informed teams that Jason Kubel was available, but Upton was theirmain target to move. They still have outfielders Gerardo Parra, AdamEaton and A.J. Pollock on the roster.
For Upton, it's a dreamcome true to play with his brother, who had spent his entire career withthe Tampa Bay Rays. B.J. will be in center, Justin in left and JasonHeyward in right.
"It's a blessing to have them both in the bigleagues,'' Manny Upton, their father, told USA TODAY last summer, "butit's been tough on the budget.''
Now, the Upton family can be together again, once and for all, without even the sniff of a trade rumor.