B.J. Upton, Atlanta Braves Agree To Five-Year Deal

By Ryan Gaydos

The Atlanta Braves have made the National League East division a whole lot scarier. Wednesday, the team signed one of the most prized free agents in the market this year in outfielder B.J. Upton. Upton and the Braves have come to terms on a five-year, $75.25 million deal.

Upton has spent his entire career with the Tampa Bay Rays and quickly elevated himself to one of the best players on the team. In his career with the ball club, Upton batted .255/.336/.422 with 118 home runs, 447 RBI and 232 stolen bases. At one point in Upton’s career, he was able to steal 40-plus bases in a season three straight times but as of late in his career, Upton has had trouble hitting the 30 stolen bases mark.

There is no question that Upton will be bringing a different dimension to the Braves’ lineup. He will more than likely become the lead-off man in front of Martin Prado in 2013 and Upton will set the tone by getting on base so that sluggers Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman have the chance to drive him home.

Upton will become a key commodity and the best fit to replace the hole that Michael Bourn left upon his exit from the Braves this off-season. Upton will be the starting center fielder for the team in April 2013 barring any injury to him during Spring Training.

The 28-year-old Upton was also being pursued by the Philadelphia Phillies and since the Rays made a qualifying offer to Upton, Tampa Bay is scheduled to receive a 2013 draft pick for compensation.

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