Report: Atlanta Braves Sign Outfielder BJ Upton

7:31 PM, Nov 28, 2012   |    comments
  • B.J. Upton changed his Twitter pic to an Atlanta Braves logo Wednesday afternoon.
  • Braves fans hope former Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton (2) starts scoring runs for Atlanta instead of against them as he did here in this May 18, 2012 game at Tropicana Field. (Photo: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)
    
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It appears the Atlanta Braves have a new center fielder.

USA Today baseball writer Bob Nightengale says B.J. Upton has signed a five-year contract worth $70-$75 million. 

Mark Bowman, writing for MLB.com, says the deal will be announced on Thursday after the outfielder passes his team physical.

In signing Upton, the Braves have turned the page on last year's starting center fielder Michael Bourn, who is expected to command a much bigger contract than the team was willing to pay.

Upton, 27, is a career .255 hitter with good speed and a lot of pop, hitting 28 homers last year. The right-handed hitter balances out a lefty-heavy lineup, but is more of a middle-of-the-order bat than a lead-off man.

He's generally considered an average to slightly above-average defender.

The team still has a hole to fill in the lineup because of Chipper Jones's retirement. 

Martin Prado can play in left field or at third base, so the Braves's options are open. Either they'll sign another free agent or pursue a solution in a trade using their pitching depth. 

Baseball's Winter Meetings start December 3 when the "Hot Stove season" really heats up.


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