ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick first reports (and Mark Bowman somewhat confirmed before Jon Heyman double confirms) that the Atlanta Braves and B.J. Upton are close to signing a five-year deal worth between $70-75 million. The free agent center fielder represents a decent coup for the Braves – who tend to cry poor at free agent time, thanks in no small part to their rather terrible TV deal.

The Braves outfield was one of the best in recent baseball history last year, thanks to some a great walk year performance by Michael Bourn and some friendly UZR/DRS numbers that gave all three outfielders 5 WAR seasons. Replacing Upton with Bourn isn’t exactly an upgrade but it far from a downgrade, as Upton hits for much more power than the departed Bourn, even if he makes more outs and doesn’t run the bases quite as well. Bill James projects a .333 wOBA in 2013 which will do just fine from a good defensive CF.

Just as I wrote less than two weeks ago, B.J. Upton is a good match for the Braves even if it isn’t the best match optically. Upton’s skills may not endear him to BARVES fans but he will help them win ball games. The Braves splashing some cash is a welcome change, I just worry about the inevitable backlash. That is a significant pay day and fans love latching onto a dollar amount and generating expectations based on salary.

The Braves aren’t worried, or, more accurately, don’t care about any potential backlash. They know what they get with B.J. Upton, even if he is a little enigmatic, and like what he offers. His power and defense and ability to kill lefties make him valuable indeed. The term seems steep but the deal is far from a bad one – mostly because it adds up in a the “helping the Braves win baseball games” sense.

Comments (17)

  1. Considering he was available on a free transfer shouldn’t it be “The Bosman Went Down To Georgia”?

  2. As a Jays fan it upsets me when a player I like goes to the NL cause I won’t get to see them as much. But the Jays seem to play the Barves every season so I’ll get to see him more than any other player on an other NL team

  3. the loss of a 1st rounder is another impact on the Braves

  4. He is a asshole of a player and a human being. He is average at best of a player, and a cancer in the dugout. The Braves will regret this deal 100%

    • Oh is that so, doctor?

      • I have to be a DR. to say what I said? Please, I have 1000 times the Baseball IQ of anyone at The Score, and i’m not saying that to insult anyone, but I am never wrong when it comes to judging someones character in life or Sports. This is not 100 years ago where you can act like a Babe Ruth or a Ty Cobb and have great success or have it not be negative for your team. B.J’s old Teammates cant stand him, he starts fights with fans, and is a loose cannon. He is overrated at best, the B.J should stand for big jerk. Anyone named Boss J.R and raised be the Dad he has is going to be a pompous asshole. 1 more thing, the WAR stat is the most unnecessary addition that has ever been added to the game of Baseball. It is not needed, and the game did just fine before it. When the Braves regret this deal, remember me. I wouldn’t give he or Hamilton $1 cause they cant be trusted as human beings, or as good teammates.

  5. That contract came out a little bit cheaper than expected. Hopefully for the Braves, that sub-.300 OPS in 2012 was an abberation.

    If Upton was a slow footed DH, he would be worth < 5 MM per season. But since he plays good defense at a tough position and is a good baserunner, he gets paid.

    Speaking of value, the Russell Martin negotiations are making me look at JPA in a whole new light.

    If Russell Martin and his 700 OPS is worth 3/24 on the open market, what is a cost controlled J.P. Arencibia worth? He's still got one more year to go before he becomes arbitration eligible, and he's 3 years younger than Martin.

  6. Does anybody else here Charlie Daniels playing?

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