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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

BJ Upton reportedly agrees to sign with Braves

B.J. Upton reportedly has agreed to sign with the Atlanta Braves, multiple outlets have said.

The 28-year-old free agent center fielder and his agent reportedly spent much of the day on Wednesday in negotiations with the club. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the sides haggled over a guaranteed sixth year Upton was seeking. O’Brien says the team would not go six unless it was an option year. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says the deal is five years for between $70 and $75 million. Upton has to pass a physical first before the deal becomes official.

Upton also changed his Twitter avatar to an Atlanta Braves logo on Wednesday, indicating he has agreed to a deal with the team.

Upton is a former No. 2 overall draft pick who first saw action in the bigs as a 19-year-old with the Rays in 2004. He showed the potential that made him such a high draft pick when he hit .300 with 24 home runs in 2007. However, his batting average has been a big concern since then; he has failed to hit above .246 the past four seasons, and has struck out over 160 times each of the past three years.

Still, Upton possess skills few others in the majors do. He has elite speed that has helped him steal at least 30 bases per season each of the last five years, and he also has good power for a center fielder (he hit a career high 28 dingers last season). Upton plays excellent defense in center, and should be a good replacement for Atlanta which is losing Michael Bourn in free agency.

Though I’m not a big fan of Upton because of his maddening inconsistency at the plate, he is a solid all-around ballplayer who should help the Braves.

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