As the hot stove heats up, B.J. Upton visited with the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. The outfielder met with Braves general manager Frank Wren and other club officials.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez joined the two on Thursday, according to MLB.com Mark Bowman's blog, as the team begins to court the prized outfielder in a free-agent class that features Upton near the top of the available outfielders. Joining Upton as free-agent outfielders are Michael Bourn and Josh Hamilton, but Hamilton is expected to fetch a much higher price tag than either Upton or Bourn.
The long-time Tampa Bay Rays outfielder hit 28 home runs and stole 31 bases in 2011 for the Rays, who finished just outside of the American League playoff picture. Since being selected second in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Upton has fulfilled expectations and is expected to fetch in the neighborhood of a five-year, $75-million deal in the free agent market this offseason, according to Bowman.