B.J. Upton agrees to contract with Braves

6:39 PM, Nov 28, 2012   |    comments
BJ Upton hits a single in the first inning of a game against the New York Mets. It would turn out to be the only hit the Rays would get all game.
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Atlanta, GA-- The Braves have agreed to terms with free-agent center fielder B.J. Upton, reports CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman. Once finalized, Upton's deal will be worth $75.25 million over five years.

The 28-year-old Upton is coming off a season in which he batted .246/.298/.454 for the Rays with 28 homers and 31 steals in 37 attempts. For his career, he has batted .255/.336/.422. Upton is also very much a defensive asset in center.

Upton provides plenty of power and speed on the bases, but the Braves must hope that he's able to return to his pre-2012 walk rates. His OBP decline is largely the result of a walk rate that fell from 11.1 percent in 2011 to 7.1 last season. For what it's worth, Bill James projects Upton in 2013 to bat .248/.329/.436 with 23 homers and 35 steals.

The signing of Upton certainly means that the Braves will part ways with incumbent center fielder Michael Bourn, who's also a highly coveted free agent.


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