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Atlanta Braves rumors: The Curious Case of B.J. Upton

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What should we make of B.J. Upton, and should the Braves sign him?


Melvin Emanuel Upton -- or B.J. Upton, as you know him -- is one of the weirder players in baseball. The Braves could sign him this week.

Atlanta has money to spend this offseason, and they have quite a few holes to fill. Upton has been named the team's No. 1 priority, and if recent reports are true, he could sign with his next team in the coming week. Some sources have even gone on to say Atlanta is the current leader to sign the center fielder.

It's tough to get a grasp on who Upton really is. He's a scout's dream; just 28 years old, which is typically when players hit the prime of their career, Upton possesses a rare combination of speed and power that is seldom found in today's game. He's hit upwards of 23 home runs the past two seasons, and he's swiped at least 31 bases in every year since 2008.

At the same time though, he's a .242/.317/.436 hitter over the past three years, and questions have been raised about his work ethic and attitude in the clubhouse.

If -- and that's a rather large 'if' -- Upton was able to figure everything out over the course of a 162-game season, there's little doubt he would instantly become one of baseball's better players. Will he? Well, that's the million dollar question for the Braves.

I've thought long and hard about Upton potentially coming to Atlanta. On one hand, it's tough to not get enamored with the potential. A veteran, right-handed outfielder with speed and power? That is exactly what general manager Frank Wren is looking for right now. But it's impossible to not be concerned with the inconsistent results and hefty paycheck that will inevitably come with signing him.

This may not be the right way to go about analysis, but I'm going to defer to the Braves on this one. If Wren and the front office think they can fix Upton and get the very most out of the tools he possesses on the diamond, I'm OK with it.

Assuming the team doesn't overpay for him -- I wouldn't do anything more than five years or $80 million -- I won't dislike the deal. It'll be a wait-and-see investment in a very gifted player who is yet to fully figure things out at the Major League level. And given that Upton's about to hit his prime, my gut says it would be a worthwhile signing.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.