Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/28/12

The Atlanta Braves and free agent center fielder BJ Upton are nearing a contract, according to Jerry Crasnick and confirmed by Mark Bowman. Terms of the potential agreement aren't known yet. With center fielder Michael Bourn hitting the free agency market this offseason, the Braves needed a center fielder, and were heavily linked to Upton along with their division rival Philadelphia Phillies. The 28-year old Upton made $7 million in 2012 with the Tampa Bay Rays. In a piece yesterday, Garrett tried to deduce the mystery team in the bidding for Upton's services, but it was one of the known favorites that looks to be getting the prize. Upton has stolen at least 30 bases in each of the last five seasons of his career, and also has three 20 homer seasons. Last season, Upton had a .752 OPS, 28 homers, and 31 steals for the Rays. He's averaged 3.9 fWAR over his six full major league seasons, and his defensive numbers in center field conflict. DRS says he's a below average defender, and UZR says he's average to slightly above average. At any rate, Upton will be a defensive dropoff in comparison to the departing Bourn, but provides the Braves with much more power. We'll have more on this situation as it develops. [follow]

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