B.J. Upton visits with Braves at Turner Field

After reaching a two-year agreement with veteran backup catcher Gerald Laird on Thursday morning, Braves general manager Frank Wren spent Thursday afternoon and some of the early-evening hours courting free agent outfielder B.J. Upton.

The Braves welcomed Upton to Turner Field on Thursday to provide the talented outfielder a better sense of how much they are hoping that he chooses to play in Atlanta next year.  Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez were both present for the meeting.

With the assumption that Josh Hamilton will be too expensive, the Braves appear to regard Upton as the most attractive outfielder available on the free agent market.

But the Braves are not the only National League East club interested in Upton.  The Phillies are believed to be making a serious push to land the 28-year-old outfielder, who has been with the Rays since being selected with the second overall selection in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.

Upton and Michael Bourn will both likely get  five-year deals worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 million.  The Phillies and Nationals appear to be the most likely suitors for Bourn, who will celebrate his 30th birthday in December.

Two years younger than Bourn, Upton will not turn 30 until the latter portion of the 2014 season.  While most of Bourn’s value comes via his legs, Upton possesses both speed and power.

With some uncertainty about when Bourn might begin losing his speed, it seems easier to project the value Upton could provide over the next five years.

Upton has increased his home run total each of the past five years and he has recorded at least 31 stolen bases each of the past five seasons.  He finished two home runs shy of joining the 30/30 club this past season.

Along with hitting a career-high 28 home runs this year, Upton also recorded a career-high 169 strikeouts and compiled an alarming .298 on-base percentage.   He has combined to hit .242 with a .317 on-base percentage and .436 slugging percentage over the past three seasons.

If the Braves sign Upton, they will still be in need of a leadoff hitter.  With the likelihood that Martin Prado will make the switch from left field to third base, they will also need to continue their search for a left fielder.

42 Comments

Are there really many true leadoff left fielders? Most of them are just converted center fielders. Pagan or Victorino could play left, but both of them are comparable or better center fielders than Upton.

Upton is a fine player but its really time for the Braves to make the big splash in free agency the fans have been begging for! Josh Hamilton, would make many loyal/devoted fans extremely happy. Its time Wren to make the call we have the money to spend, lets get this done.

And handcuff ourselves financially over 5+ years? Hamilton is a great player but being in the NL away from where he could occasionally DH is not wise for us with his health being a big question mark. Upton has tremendous upside and is the youngest of all of the top outfielders and therefore would be a lower risk signing.

Also with Uggla being terrible the last two seasons we need another solid middle of the order RH bat

We don’t need another 170 strikeouts from the right side of the plate, though…

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Any chance we can land BJ and Justin???

Those teams that win free agency rarely win a championship. Who cares about Hamilton? Man is demanding $175 million possibly over 7 years…! Ridiculous. Some teams, including his own in TEX, aren’t going more than 3. What does that tell you. That’s too big a risk for a 120-game player. Let Wren make his own splash by getting Upton and another great bat.

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He will be getting a lot more protection hitting in Atlanta. I’d think Freddi would throw him in the two spot. I’m actually really excited for it. Who knows, maybe we can lure a Justin Upton trade (strong maybe).

I think with prado in the 2 hole, upton would hit 5th, behind jhey and freeman.

Would you rather have Upton or play against him in Philly and play without him against Bourn in Washington? I sure hope his visit went well… and perhaps that he passed on good things to his bro. Could you imagine 85 bombs and 70 swipes from the outfield alone? Heyward Upton n Upton, kinda has an All-Star team feel to it.

Or a law firm feel. Lol

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Great, Dan Uggla stats now in the Outfield. Between the two of them that would be over 300 Ks per year. Doesn’t make me happy.

Of course Bourn struck out bunches too…..

Jason Heyward represents the only outfielder the Braves farm has produced since Andrew Jones in the 1990s.There is no excuse for not having an outfielder ready to come up.Yes,the farm does some good work.But really.?..ONE OUTFIELDER EVERY 15 YEARS AND ONE 3RD BASEMAN EVERY 2 DECADES? And now we’re scrambling to overspend on outfielders.If the farm just had our second outfielder in the past 15 years ready to play for $600K,then we’re cooking in hot grease against the budget.There’s no excuse for the Braves to be stuck between regression and overpaying for mediocrity in the FA market.

I like that lineup. That would be a potent offense. Rather see uggla further down in the lineup until he (hopefully) regains his confidence/success at the plate.

What the Braves lineup should look in the 2013 season:

1. Victorino or Pagan CF
2. Prado 3B
3. Heyward RF
4. Uggla 2B
5. Freeman 1B
6. B.J. Upton CF
7. McCann C (when he’s fully healthy)
8. Simmons SS

What do you guys think???

Swap places with Upton and Uggla.

I’m thinking we need someone to play in left, and CF looks crowded…

If the Braves get B.J., I think there’s a good chance they make a trade for Justin. The Braves are one of the few teams out there that can give Arizona what they want for him, a short stop. I think trading Jurjens and Pastronicky for Justin would probibly do the trick.

Are you being serious? You do realize that Towers is looking for a Texeria size return on Upton? Now that doesnt mean he will get it, but they are not going to give us Upton for a back-up utility infielder and a washed up starting pitcher that we would probably just non-tender. If you want to trade for Upton you are going to have to start at Delgado or Teheran and go from there adding in another top prospect and a couple major league ready guys. 4 quality players…minimum. If you were joking, then you did a good job of sounding serious.

How many names does nc go by??? Or are there really that many clueless people out there?

First off Douche nugget that wasn’t me posting that trade, and second I wouldn’t offer JJ for Upton I would offer Delgado Mycal Jones Cory Harrilchak and Uggla for Upton and Cliff Pennington.

then the line should be
J.Upton LF
Pennington 3rd
Heyward RF
B.J Upton CF
Freeman 1st
Prado 2nd
McCann/Laird C
Simmons SS

Haha, that’s no more realistic.

Are you kidding? Jj and pastornicky? No way.

why would the dbacks trade j upton for pasternicky and JJ? where is the value? JJ will be potentially released, has little to no value and pasternicky is average at best and got benched by the braves before simmons even came up. j upton will cost a ton more. if the braves sign BJ they go for a clear leadoff guy like pagan or maybe even go on the major cheap for juan pierre and make more trade deadline moves as needed in the summer. but justin and BJ gives them no leadoff hitter, little on base skills, it’s great for hr, speed and fantasy but not making a cohesive team.

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I hope the Braves sign BJ Upton to save the Phillies from themselves. Go Braves!

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Why not bring back Reed Johnson, he hit over .300 last year with a good OBP, a good glove in the OF, and wouldn’t cost that much. He doesn’t have a ton of speed but I think this would be a good option, now that Juan Pierre is off the table.

Why not bring back Reed Johnson? He hit over .300 last year with a good OBP and good range and glove in the OF. He wouldn’t cost that much and you could platoon him and Shaffer in CF to provide a fairly good leadoff tandem. You could then use your whole warchest to sign Josh Hamilton to a 10 year 300 millon dollar contract to play LF and provide you, Chipper-esque, .330/45/145 every year.

Unnamed source said Wren is more interested in making a deal to get Buster Posey than Upton?? Any idea what the Giants would need from us to make this happen?

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Would the braves consider picking up susuki iciro to play left and lead off he’s a perfect fit for lead off and plays a good outfield gets on a lot and if upton goes to philly he a good center fit?

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