|GRANTLAND.com: The Triangle|
In the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, locals practice a unique kind of diet. It's called hara hachi bu, which roughly means, "eat until you're 80 percent full." Sounds both logical and awful, right? Okinawans eat less than people in Western societies, and also live longer. And forget 100 percent — we slam two helpings of turkey smothered in gravy, three plates of stuffing and sweet potatoes, and four kinds of pie every Thanksgiving, then feel like garbage afterwards. But dammit, it tastes good, and it's our right to stuff ourselves silly and destroy our health and waist lines. Hara hachi bu might make sense on paper, but it hasn't caught on in most other first-world nations.
The Braves are the Okinawans of Major League Baseball. Sure, plenty of teams run much lower payrolls and keep draft spending in check. But those teams do so because they're poor by MLB standards. The Braves are not. They're a mid-market team not far removed from one of the greatest runs of success any team has seen in half a century. But where previous owner Time Warner bankrolled one of the top payrolls in the game, Liberty Media has clamped down on spending, with the Braves ranking a modest 15th at $87 million last season. They could probably spend more money and still turn a profit. They choose not to. Meanwhile, the new collective bargaining agreement's restrictions on draft spending should have zero effect on the Braves. They were one of very few teams that stuck to slot recommendations every year. In fact, Braves president John Schuerholz was a driving force behind the new spending caps and the penalties that result from going over those caps. The Braves continue to pump out great players, using superior scouting in the draft and on the international market to bring in new generations of exciting talent. But in a division that features a new, big-spending superpower in the Phillies, that hasn't been enough, with just one playoff berth and no division titles for Atlanta in the past six years.
Arizona's return boils down to this: One year of Martin Prado, six years of a fifth starter in Randall Delgado, two fringy prospects, and one non-prospect. If that sounds like a good deal to you, I have some beachfront property in Phoenix to sell you.
These three prospects combined with Prado and Delgado strikes me as a fairly weak haul for Upton, and it certainly isn't as good as what the Mariners reportedly offered last week, and what the Rangers were rumored to be offering.