The Atlanta Braves are slight favorites to sign free agent center fielder B.J. Upton, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN. The Braves' primary competition in luring the former Tampa Bay Ray appears to be the Philadelphia Phillies, though Bowden says a "mystery team" is also involved.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times says that Upton could make his decision this week, so the Braves may not have to wait too long to find out if they have their man or not. They are looking to fill the spot vacated by free agent Michael Bourn, who is said to be viewed by the Braves as a less-desirable option due to concerns with how he might age.
Upton had a typical Uptonian season for the Rays in 2012, hitting .246/.298/.454 with 28 home runs and 31 steals. He also struck out 169 times and saw his walk rate fall off, leading to a sub-.300 on-base percentage. He is only 28-years-old though, leading many to wonder if that long-elusive breakout season still lies in his future.