The trade speculation involving Justin Upton and the Yankees officially ended on Thursday.

The Arizona Diamondbacks dealt their superstar outfielder to the Atlanta Braves in a seven-team deal that sent Upton to Atlanta for Randall Delgado, Martin Prado and other prospects.

For the last three years, Upton’s name has come up several times in trade rumors involving the Yankees, but nothing had ever happened.

This past summer, Upton was again involved in trade rumors, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman never pulled the trigger.

And now, Upton is officially off the market and now not only playing for a contender but will be playing side by side with his brother and former Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton, who was signed as a free agent this winter.

The Yankees never made an attempt nor an offer to Arizona due to the fact that the team is trying to get under their self-imposed $189 million mark for their payroll by the 2014 season.

Did the Yankees make a mistake in not trying to trade for Upton?

Sure, the Yankees would have had to add another three years and $38.5 million for the 25-year-old, which considering his talent level, is pretty affordable.

And there’s a good chance that Upton would have cost the Bombers a small fortune in either current MLB players and/or prospects, such as Tyler Austin, Mason Williams and Slade Heathcott.

And ever since 2006, Cashman has really made a serious effort to rebuild the farm system and not trade away their young talent.

But Upton to the Yankees made so much sense.

Like I mentioned before, he is only 25 years old and is entering the prime stages of his career and would have given the Yankees the youth the older team desperately needs.

Upton could have been a fixture in right field for the next 10 years for the Yankees, and his career could have continued to thrive while playing under the bright lights of New York.

Upton could have also allowed the team to potentially trade Curtis Granderson at July’s trade deadline, while moving Brett Gardner back to center field and Ichiro Suzuki to left field.

Upton could have helped the Yankees get back to the playoffs and maybe even make a run at another championship.

But now, any dreams and wishes of having Upton in the Bronx are long gone, as he’ll be manning the outfield at Turner Field for at least the next three years, if not, even longer.

And now, unless the Yankees decide to make a franchise altering trade for someone like Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, the team will have to continue their development of minor league outfielders like Austin, Williams and Heathcott.

Not trading for players like Upton will be seen as very unpopular by the fans, but they’re the kind of moves that should be expected going forward in the Bronx.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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