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Braves nixed Rangers' offer -- Garza, Nathan included -- for Justin Upton

The Rangers presented a trade proposal to Atlanta of Matt Garza, Joe Nathan and David Murphy for Justin Upton at the trade deadline, which the Braves rejected, sources confirm.

The Rangers were desperately seeking offense at the time as they were struggling with the bats and understood the possibility that Nelson Cruz, their leader in home runs and RBI with 27 and 76, would accept a 50-game suspension for his connection to Biogenesis. Cruz ultimately did accept the suspension a few days later, on Aug. 5.

The trade offer contained big names, including Garza who had just been acquired from the Cubs for top prospects including Mike Olt and C.J. Edwards, but isn't as overwhelming as it might seem since all three offered players can become free agents after the year. Garza and Murphy, who's struggled this year, are free agents, while Nathan can void his 2013 club option for $9 million since he's finished at least 55 games this year and 100 over his two in Texas.

The likelihood is that if Nathan doesn't void the option he'd at least use it to rework his deal after saving 40 games in 43 tries and posting a 2.10 ERA this season. Nathan has the best save percentage in the AL among closers with at least 35 saves.

The Braves love Upton, who has two more years left on his contract, which probably meant they didn't seriously consider the offer. Beyond that, Atlanta was well on its way to winning the NL East, and probably didn't wish to upset their roll. Additionally, they'd like to get Upton's highly-paid, but struggling brother, B.J., going. Trading Justin Upton likely would not have aided that cause.

USA Today first reported the offer Sunday in a story about how much Cruz's absence has hurt the Rangers, who are sliding for the second straight year. Once in front in the AL West, the Rangers now trail the Indians for the second wild-card spot by 1 1/2 games.

Cruz's absence certainly hasn't helped them, and he suggested in the story that he feels badly about that. He admitted he had been suggesting to Rangers people he planned to contest his 50-game suspension right up until the last couple days, but of course that always seemed like a long shot to outsiders since no one believed Cruz would want to jeopardize his own free agency.

The Rangers ultimately acquired outfielder Alex Rios in August after Cruz accepted his penalty, and Rios is hitting .269 (the same as Cruz) in Texas but has only five homers and 17 RBI in 39 games. But Texas may have needed a hitter in addition to Cruz, not only one hitter to replace him.

 
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