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Braves sign B.J. Upton

Atlanta has won the sweepstakes for the older Upton brother.


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:

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.