The months of speculation have come to an end.
B.J. Upton will play in Atlanta next season, as the center fielder has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Braves for a reported five years and $75 million, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.
Upton, who was also being sought after by the Philadelphia Phillies, spent his entire career with the Tampa Bay Rays. Though the deal is pending his passing a physical exam, Upton, 28, has shown little to no signs of slowly down as of late; he is the only center fielder in the MLB who has appeared in at least 144 games over the last five seasons. Last season, he batted .246 and recorded 28 home runs and 31 stolen bases.
The Braves, who were eliminated in the wild-card playoff game, made Upton their top center-field target when it became clear that [Michael] Bourn's demands would be too prohibitive for their budget. The Washington Nationals are now the leading contender to sign Bourn.Upton has ranked among the top 10 center fielders in the league for home runs since 2009 (70), although he also struck out 169 times last season. The deal is not official yet because it has not been announced by the Braves.