The Atlanta Braves have come to an agreement on a contract with free-agent center fielder B.J. Upton, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:
B.J. Upton and #Braves are in agreement, pending physical. Terms of contract not yet known.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 28, 2012
The official terms of the deal have not been released as of yet, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that it is believed to be for five years at $70-$75 million. Others speculate that their may be a sixth-year option in the deal as well.
The pursuit of the 28-year-old Upton was entirely an NL East affair, with the Phillies also in heavy pursuit and the Nationals showing some interest as well. The righty-hitting outfielder is the first of the three coveted names to go in the center field free-agent pool, leaving teams to fight for Michael Bourn and Angel Pagan.
Upton has spent his entire career to this point -- eight seasons -- with the Tampa Bay Rays, hitting .255/.336/.422 in that span, averaging 15 home runs and 36 stolen bases a year since becoming a full-time player in 2007. The older Upton brother is unlikely to live up to the promise he showed in his 2007 campaign, when he hit .300/.386/.508 with 24 home runs as a 22-year-old, but he is still worth about 3.0 WAR a season, which is not easy to come by in a center fielder.
The deal is still pending a physical, which Upton will undergo tomorrow in Atlanta.