The Atlanta Braves and free agent center fielder BJ Upton have agreed to a contract, as reported Ken Rosenthal and confirmed by Jon Heyman. An impending deal was reported on by Jerry Crasnick and confirmed by Mark Bowman. Bob Nightengale is reporting that Upton will get a five year deal for between $70 and $75 million. With center fielder Michael Bourn hitting the free agency market this offseason, the Braves needed a center fielder, and were heavily linked to Upton along with their division rival Philadelphia Phillies. The 28-year old Upton made $7 million in 2012 with the Tampa Bay Rays. In a piece yesterday, Garrett tried to deduce the mystery team in the bidding for Upton's services, but it was one of the known favorites that looks to be getting the prize. Upton has seemingly confirmed the deal by changing his Twitter avatar to a Braves logo.
Upton has stolen at least 30 bases in each of the last five seasons of his career, and also has three 20 homer seasons. Last season, Upton had a .752 OPS, 28 homers, and 31 steals for the Rays. He's averaged 3.9 fWAR over his six full major league seasons, and his defensive numbers in center field conflict. DRS says he's a below average defender, and UZR says he's average to slightly above average. At any rate, Upton will be a defensive dropoff in comparison to the departing Bourn, but provides the Braves with much more power.
UPDATE: Final contract is five years, $75.25 million.
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"Upton will be a defensive dropoff" what are you stoned , obviously you have never watched the Rays. BJ is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball with a hell of a lot stronger arm than Bourn. Bourn has the advantage in batting average but BJ will definitely provide more power and run production with better defense. As a rays fan it sucks he had to go but the Braves just picked up a nice piece to there puzzle.
@Tjennings2317 And if you don't think Bourn is anything less than a magician in CF, you've never watched the Braves. It's not a *dramatic* dropoff, but a dropoff nonetheless. It's not like the Braves won't still be one of the best defensive teams in the league with Upton out there instead of Bourn