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Phillies rumors: Signing a center fielder Philly's top priority

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BJ Upton, Michael Bourn and Angel Pagan are Philadelphia's top three options in center.

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Philadelphia Phillies have made signing a new center fielder their top priority, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Numerous agents and executives who have spoken with the Phillies say everything else is on hold until they sign a centerfielder. Thus, the winter has rolled to a slow start with the possibility of heating up rather quickly…

Ultimately, it comes down to how the Phillies value the three primary center-field options. Is B.J. Upton that far ahead of Michael Bourn and Angel Pagan?

Philadelphia gave Upton a tour of their facility last week, indicating that he is likely their top choice, but face stiff competition for the 28-year-old from the Braves and the Nationals. Gelb speculates that Upton could ask for as many as six years guaranteed, but that the Phillies will probably prefer four.

Bourn has a history with the Phillies organization and would have no problem fitting in with the club. The speedy 30-year-old was drafted by Philadelphia in 2003 and came up through the ranks alongside Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins.

Gelb also iterates that general manager Ruben Amaro is usually the one to set market value for free agent players, so driving up a price on a player just to have another team overpay may not be in the cards for the Phillies.