The latest domino of the Atlanta Braves‘ offseason rebuild has fallen, as Atlanta agreed Friday to send outfielder Justin Upton to the San Diego Padres in exchange for prospects.

The Braves made the move official on Twitter:

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported the news, while CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman was the first to divulge the rest of the players involved.

Heyman notes what the Padres will likely do with their newly acquired outfield talent:

Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego provides more details on Upton’s expected role with the team:

Upton, 27, has been the subject of trade rumors for most of the winter. Teams began calling Atlanta in the aftermath of its blockbuster Jason Heyward-Shelby Miller swap, which sent one of the Braves’ supposed cornerstones to the St. Louis Cardinals. While the Braves let it be known Upton would command a higher price than Heyward, who will hit free agency next winter, their willingness to listen opened the market for bids.

Upton will also be heading into the last season of his deal but was viewed as more likely to sign a long-term extension in Atlanta. His brother, B.J., signed with the team before the 2013 season and should be around for the duration of his five-year, $75.25 million contract given his offensive struggles.

Jettisoning Justin Upton now seemed like cashing in early on one of the best value trades of the last few seasons. The Braves acquired the then-25-year-old Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a package that has so far produced one-and-a-half seasons of Martin Prado, a mediocre reliever in Randall Delgado and two prospects (Nick Ahmed and Zeke Spruill) yet to make a major big league impact.

The Upton experiment in Atlanta has generally been a success, with the two-time All-Star hitting 56 home runs over the last two seasons. He hit .270/.342/.491 with 29 home runs and a career-high 102 RBI in 2014, earning his second Silver Slugger award. FanGraphs’ formula for wins above replacement calculated last season as Upton’s third-best of his career and his best since his breakout 2011 campaign.

Nonetheless, a disappointing September collapse and changes in the front office have led to a roster overhaul. Heyward’s trade to St. Louis was just the tip of the iceberg, with Upton following and possibly more players heading out the door.

The Braves hired John Hart as their president of baseball operations in October, replacing longtime executive Frank Wren. Hart joined the organization before the 2014 season, meaning nearly all of the players on the roster were acquired before his arrival. It’s no surprise that Hart would want to come in and immediately put his stamp on the franchise.

Ridding the Braves of two All-Star talents, though? We’ll have to wait a few years before seeing whether that was a smart call.


Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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