The former Tampa Bay Ray is the Braves' most coveted player on the free agent market, seeing that Josh Hamilton will likely be too expensive for Atlanta. Both Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez were present to make the case for Upton to become a Brave.
The meeting with Upton likely signals an end to the Michael Bourn era in Atlanta. Though both are rumored to be aiming for five-year deals in the neighborhood of $75 million, Bourn will be 30 on Opening Day. On the other hand, Upton won't turn 30 until late in 2014.
Those extra two years of speed coupled with Bourn's likelihood to lose a step or two by the end of a five-year deal could mean a great deal to the Braves who would also land Upton's power output.
Upton cranked 28 homers last season, though he did set a career high of 169 strikeouts and a career low .298 on-base percentage. It should be noted that Upton only walked 45 in 2012 compared to 71 free passes in 2011. Upton has a middle of the road .255 career average, but the allure for the Braves is his combination of speed and power. He was just two home runs shy of the 30/30 club and has stolen at least 31 bases every year since 2008.
Signing Upton would fill their need for a center fielder and a legitimate power threat, leaving the Braves hunting for a lead-off type left fielder.
The Philadelphia Phillies are also known to be making a push for Upton.Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, B.J. Upton, MLB