A bidding war is brewing in the NL East for a speedy center fielder.
The Braves and Phillies are the finalists for B.J. Upton, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN, though there may be a mystery team involved as well. The Reds or Nationals could be that mystery team. Both of those teams are also interested in the former Rays outfielder, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
If the Braves were to sign Upton, it would likely mean that they would not be re-signing Michael Bourn, who has been manning center field in Atlanta since the Braves traded for him at the 2011 trade deadline. Upton adds significantly more power, but Bourn is the better defender, better at getting on base and the better base stealer. Upton will be 28 years old entering next season while Bourn will be 30.
Upton batted .246 with 28 home runs and a .752 OPS last season in Tampa Bay. His best season came in 2007, when he hit 24 home runs with a .300 batting average and an .894 OPS. Upton was the Rays’ No. 2 overall pick in 2004.