Former Rays center fielder B.J. Upton received his free-agent payday during the offseason – a five-year, $75.25-million contract that represented the largest deal in Atlanta Braves' history – and now fans await the payoff. "If B.J. plays up to his potential,'' said Jon Clark, a Braves follower from Vero Beach, "there's no doubt we can go all the way.'' Did you catch that familiar word? Ah, yes. Potential . Upton, 28, displayed five-tool ability in Tampa Bay. Sometimes, it was just a tease and he struck out too much. Other days, during his hottest streaks, the package of power, speed and defense was downright tantalizing. The Braves believe Upton's best days are ahead. And even though his contract could be a reference point – particularly if there are struggles – Upton won't be expected to do it alone. Already paired with right fielder Jason Heyward, an emerging power-speed star, Upton is now joined by his younger brother, Justin, the left fielder who was part of a seven-player trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. "I don't like facing one Upton, much less two,'' Miami Marlins pitcher Wade LeBlanc said. "Obviously, that's a pretty awesome looking outfield. You can make any team look good on paper, but they've definitely made some upgrades.'' Upton said he did, too. After 10 years with the Rays' organization, after witnessing its transformation to a perennial postseason contender, after heartfelt teary-eyed emotion in his Tropicana Field finale, Upton has moved on. "Everyone has accepted me here, made me feel good,'' Upton said. "You have the memories and the friends (with the Rays), but now I'm here. I just want to do my part.''
Upton brothers give Atlanta outfield huge potential
Tampa Tribune | Mar 2