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.
Nats (93-66) vs. Miami Marlins (78-80) at Nationals Park
At long last, we've reached the final series of the regular season. The Nationals will host the Miami Marlins in a weekend set that will likely determine playoff seeding. Washington's magic number to clinch home-field advantage over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division series is two, so a win and a Los Angeles loss could sew it up on Friday night.
Seeding aside, the biggest development heading into this game is the return of Bryce Harper, who's back in the lineup after missing four games with a thumb injury. Prior to the injury, Harper had hits in five out of his previous seven games. The Nats have to hope he can pick up where he left off.
Right hander A.J. Cole, who is currently appealing his five-game suspension as a result of Sunday’s brouhaha with the Pittsburgh Pirates, will get the start tonight. The 24-year-old is 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA. He’ll be opposed by the Marlins Andrew Cashner (5-11, 5.13 ERA).
First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - A.J. Cole vs. Miami Marlins - Andrew Cashner
CF Trea Turner
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
3B Anthony Rendon
2B Stephen Drew
1B Clint Robinson
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
RHP A.J. Cole
The Nationals are back in the postseason, which means it's time once again to revisit D.C. Metro's policy about staying open late.
As of now, it is not in the plans for Metro to remain operative beyond their usual 12 a.m. cutoff. And, with games that often run late and past midnight, that could leave many fans at Nationals Park for playoff games with a choice between leaving early or getting stranded.
Scherzer joined Grant and Danny on 106.7 The Fan on Friday and spoke out on the matter:
“God, I would hope to believe that playoff games here in D.C. would mean more than shutting down the lines for a couple hours,” Scherzer said.
“I mean, isn’t it a supply and demand issue? We have a supply of people that demand to use the line to go the park. Why wouldn’t you want to meet that?”
Scherzer went on to suggest a movement on Twitter to convince Metro to make an exception.
“You need to get like a hashtag going and like keep the metro line open, and try to get some peer pressure through social media that way."
Metro responded to calls for staying open late by arguing it would be a "slippery slope" and lead to other requests throughout the year. They are holding strong on it, too, as they have in the past. In 2012, the company Living Social paid to keep Metro open later. And in 2014, American University did the same. The price to keep Metro open is around $30,000 an hour.
It may take another company to step up like that to ensure Nats fans won't be left out in the cold.
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