Braves To Sign B.J. Upton – 5 Years – $75.25 Million

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Braves to sign Upton to 5 Year Deal

Former Tampa Bay Rays and free-agent outfielder has agreed to sign with the Atlanta Braves .  The market for Upton seemed to take on a life of its own of late, with the  BravesPhiladelphia PhilliesWashington Nationals reportedly are all interested in signing the 28-year-old outfielder.

Washington had made it clear that re-signing Adam LaRoche is the teams top priority leaving the Braves and Phillies as the front runners to acquire his services.

Losing out on Upton may motivate the Phillies to explore its options with free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn.

Upton declined a qualifying offer from the Rays, which means the Rays are now eligible to obtain a top pick in the 2013 draft.

The Rays just gave third baseman Evan Longoria a six-year contract extension worth $100 million so any thought of Upton returning Tampa Bay quickly dissipated.

In 633 plate appearances for the Rays this past season, Upton hit 28 home runs and posted a .246/.298/.454 /line.

Upton met with Braves general manager Frank Wren, former manager Bobby Cox and current skipper Fredi Gonzalez, and Upton seemed excited by the visit.

“I’m really blown away by the love other cities are showing me right now,” Upton tweeted. “Can’t wait to see how this pans out.”’s Jerry Crasnick  was first to report that Upton was in serious negotiations with the Atlanta Braves on a multi-year deal.

At 28, Upton still has years to develop as a player. Upton has a penchant for striking out, 169 times in 2012,  but will hit 20+ home runs and has the potential to steal 40 bases while providing exceptional defense in center field for the Braves.

Upton,  hit .246 2012 , with a career-high 28 homers and 31 stolen bases, and has played in at least 144 games in the last five seasons, the only center-fielder to do so.