B.J. Upton Rumors: Free Agent Expected to Sign Soon

B.J. Upton can be many things.  He is a versatile player, that's for sure.  In the free agent market, he can be many things as well.  He can be an upgrade, a lateral replacement, or an injury filler.  If he is the latter, the team signing him must make sure they want Upton as their replacement long-term, and they have to make the decision fast.

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Upton wants to make a decision on where he plays this week.  He has had numerous suitors so far this offseason, but it seems the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves jumped out as the frontrunners.  In both cases, the move would be to replace and re-tool.  However, there are other teams in the mix.

For example, the Washington Nationals experienced numerous injuries to their outfielders.  Michael Morse, who was shifted from first base to the outfield, was injured for a large chunk of time.  Jayson Werth fractured his wrist early in the season.  These are the types of things that concern a team that has suddenly built itself into what seems like it could be a perennial contender.  Upton can be an injury-problem solution.  He has played 140 or more games every season since 2008.  He is almost always ready to go.

No matter where Upton lands, the team signing him will have to pay him handsomely.  While Upton may notbe considered an elite outfielder, his speed and pop make him a desirable choice.  In his career, Upton has hit .255/.336/.422.  Last season, he hit a career-high 28 home runs, but he also posted a career-low OBP of .298.  And therein lies the problem for team interested.  Upton can be fantastic, but he can also struggle.

It looks like we will find out who is willing to overlook that this week if Upton does in fact sign somewhere.

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