While the MLB offseason has been slow to heat up, the Atlanta Braves look poised to make the first big move. Atlanta has agreed to a contract with center fielder B.J. Upton, this according to multiple reports.
The 28 year old center fielder joins the Braves after eight seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. He hit .246 in 2012 with 28 home runs, 78 RBI, and 31 stolen bases. He presents a younger alternative to Michael Bourn who roved center field for Atlanta last season.
Upton has posted at least 31 stolen bases over the past five seasons and has increased his home run totals in each of the past four years. He brings more power than Bourn, but doesn’t fit the same leadoff hitting profile.
Upton's deal is reportedly for five years and worth approximately $75 million.
The Nationals were once rumored to have interest in Upton, but many believe a left-handed bat would be a better fit. Because of this, they have been linked moreso to Bourn who now clearly isn't going to back with the Braves. The Phillies were said to have heavy interest in Upton and may now turn their focus to Bourn. Either way, we now know at least one of them will be in the N.L. East.