While the MLB offseason has been slow to heat up, the Atlanta Braves look poised to make the first big move. Atlanta has agreed to a contract with center fielder B.J. Upton, this according to multiple reports.
The 28 year old center fielder joins the Braves after eight seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. He hit .246 in 2012 with 28 home runs, 78 RBI, and 31 stolen bases. He presents a younger alternative to Michael Bourn who roved center field for Atlanta last season.
Upton has posted at least 31 stolen bases over the past five seasons and has increased his home run totals in each of the past four years. He brings more power than Bourn, but doesn’t fit the same leadoff hitting profile.
Upton's deal is reportedly for five years and worth approximately $75 million.
The Nationals were once rumored to have interest in Upton, but many believe a left-handed bat would be a better fit. Because of this, they have been linked moreso to Bourn who now clearly isn't going to back with the Braves. The Phillies were said to have heavy interest in Upton and may now turn their focus to Bourn. Either way, we now know at least one of them will be in the N.L. East.
You can always count on the New York Daily News to run an audacious cover. The tabloid delivered again Friday with an image edited to show two of the league's best young hitters in Yankees pinstripes: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Orioles short stop Manny Machado.
"Bats to the Future" is exactly the headline you'd expect, too.
It's hard to tell what's more odious to Washington and Baltimore fans: the image itself or the suggestion that baseball's new collective bargaining agreement makes it easier for the Yankees to poach their stars.
The premise of that argument comes from sources who say the new CBA contains two changes beneficial to New York: reduced revenue sharing burden (due to tweaks in how sharing is calculated, plus a deduction for the cost of building and running Yankee Stadium) and an increased luxury tax threshold.
Without going into number crunching detail, the Daily News explains how the club could afford Harper and/or Machado when they become free agents after the 2018 season.
The article's tone of inevitability, despite its many assumptions, will rankle fans of all 29 other teams. After all, the Yankees aren't the only franchise interested in Harper and Machado.
The Nationals and Orioles will presumably try to keep their stars. But to do that, they may have to fend off potentially historic money from the Bronx.
MORE BASEBALL: Nats let Ben Revere walk
Ben Revere was brought to Washington in the hopes he could solve the centerfield and lead-off issue that plagued them the previous year. After just one year, the Nationals have decided to move on from Revere as they declined to tender him.
The move makes Revere a free agent after a .217/.260/.300 season that fell way below expectations. Revere tied his career-high with two home runs and added 24 RBI while scoring 44 runs.
Stay tuned for more information!