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B.J. Upton is one of the better free agents on the market this year, and has been expected to sign this week for a few days now. In one of the less mysterious pursuits of the early offseason, most had him down to the Braves and the Phillies by yesterday, and it sounds like today the Braves sealed the deal.

Various reports have the numbers at five years and $70 to $75 million, with a possible sixth year option. Upton has already changed his avatar on Twitter to a Braves logo, so I don’t think this is one those “confirmed deal! er, I mean, wait” kind of situations. The numbers might change slightly when they are finally announced, but that’s the ballpark.

In the end, Upton was never legitimately connected to the Cubs, however connectable he might have been. In the Cubs’ eyes, perhaps, the marks in favor of Upton – his age (28), his athleticism, his increasing power, and his overall upside – were outweighed by the downside risk – some of his numbers trending downward, his elevated K-rate, and his contract demands.

But, given the increasingly rare 28-year-old free agent who can fill a position of need without hampering the organization long-term, I’m just a touch salty to not have seen the Cubs even involved, particularly at a really digestible price. Upton has been averaging a 4.0 WAR since he moved to center field in 2007, and, with the price of a win expected to be right around $5.5 million, you can see how he’s very likely to be worth his contract. Had the Cubs considered Upton, they could have accommodated Brett Jackson (if he becomes ready) by moving one or the other into a corner position, and shipping out Alfonso Soriano or David DeJesus. Jorge Soler and Albert Almora are still years away.

Don’t mistake me: I’m not angry, and I can understand the reticence to commit to such a tricky player like Upton. Let’s hope the Cubs did some serious due diligence.

  • Lincoln Park Kingz

    Plus he is a follower of Bretts and has to follow whatever Brett tells him or he is banned…..and he isn’t smart enough to get around bans like I can………But I will teach anyone how to do it just write me

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      This is the only comment of yours that will remain. The hundreds of others that you have left or attempted to leave over the past three days have been, and will continue to be, deleted without any response whatsoever.

      Be advised that your behavior may constitute harassment in violation of communications laws in Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I am currently exploring the available options to protect myself from your attempts to frighten, intimidate, threaten or harass me, including reporting your behavior to the appropriate authorities should that become necessary.

      You may believe that your behavior is both anonymous and harmless. It is neither. This will be my only statement on this matter.

      • MichiganGoat

        :)

        • Katie

          I just got all tingly.

          • MichiganGoat

            Oh my love there is sooooo much to say here but this is a serious site ;)

            • Katie

              And it’s NOT a dating site dammit.

              I just love it when Brett gets all lawyer-y. Especially towards dick beater trolls. Makes my poor heart skip a beat.

              • MichiganGoat

                Well because of BN we are twitter husband & wife (***cue hansman***)

                • hansman1982

                  WHAT.IN.THE.HELL!?!?>!>!>!>!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

                  Whateves, dude…keep living in fantasy land – Have you ever been on a terrible 1st blind date with Katie?!?! DIDN’T.THINK.SO!

                  Your father was a goat but your mother was a sheep!!!!!!!!

                  • Cubbie Blues

                    deleted comment.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    Hehehe I SAW HER FIRST

              • DarthHater

                I just love it when Brett gets all lawyer-y. Especially towards dick beater trolls.

                The only way I can see in which this statement differs from the statements of said trolls is that it is coupled with brown-nosing the site administrator.

                • Katie

                  Um, okay.

                • TC

                  I mean, it might seem like that to an outsider/someone who’s only been here for a few months, but you’re waaay off the mark on this one DarthHater.

                  This troll has been around for what seems like years and has gone out of his way to inconvenience and slander Brett.

                  Also, MG isn’t browsing, he’s the OG around here, he’s been around almost as long as the blog has existed, so he’s just good friends with Brett

                  • TC

                    how do I delete a post that sounds dumb after I realize I misinterpreted something? dammit I WANT AN EDIT BUTTON

                    • Spencer

                      The few months we had an edit button will go down as some of the best months in BN history.

                    • Katie

                      I think he was calling me the brown noser. And yes, I miss the edit button.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Katie now that sounds dirty

                    • Katie

                      Oh MG, you shameless flirt.

      • Internet Random

        I’m sure you wouldn’t, but don’t forget to contact his ISP if you decide to take action… and to follow up with them to find out what measures they’ve taken.

      • SaboMetrics

        Just got a Woody from the way Brett just Rizzo-ed all over that situation. He certainly made a Stewartist out of that guy. It’s tiring to hear the Sveum song and dance from these trolls. Hopefully this harassment has Colemanated.

        Are these player puns doing anything for you? No? Ya me neither…

        Sweet DeJesus!

      • hansman1982

        I feel like I am sitting in on the testing at Alamagordo…

        I can just picture Brett thinking:

        “‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” As he plots his next move.

      • Kyle

        Boom. Lawyer’d.

  • MichCubFan

    I am glad we weren’t involved with Upton (as far as we know) and i really don’t think our front office was into him from the start.

    His makeup issues are the first red flag. He has been chastised from his team and teammates for not hustling many times over the years. I don’t really know how he is off the field, but our front office and our fans do not want to put up with that kind of selfish, lazy play on the field.

    He is also very erratic offensively. He is talented enough to be pretty valuable anyway, but with his long bouts of cold bat syndrome and dwindling approach at the plate, i would give my vote to no thank you.

    He is a good defensive CF and steals a lot of bases. But we can get a lot of that from cheaper players who come with less of a commitment and whose personalities would fit in better with our team.

    Also remember that Theo, along with some of the other FO members, have seen Upton play a lot being that they played against him for so long in the AL east. They would have a much better feel for him as a player and teammate from their experience than we would.

    He really seems like a player that Hendry would have signed, where a lot of fans would be happy that we made a move and that the front office “cares about winning now”. But over a couple of years of him not hustling and regressing into a Soriano-ish type of hitter, we would all be second guessing the signing.

    You don’t want to put too many years and too much money into a player that isn’t a good fit with the team. I am glad we passed on this one.

  • calicubsfan007

    Ryan Rayburn was cut by Detroit. Should we take a chance on him?

    • Shawon O’Meter

      In a word, no. I would rather see the Cubs pick up the corpse of Match Game host Gene Rayburn and his awesome microphone which looks to the inspiration for Rob Deer’s Viz-U-Bat creation.[img]http://www.cbsnews.com/images/2002/05/15/image509214x.jpg[/img]

      • calicubsfan007

        @Shawon: Nice, he could be valuable to us. (=

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    Way to man up Brett. Don’t you know the more outlandish and controversial this site becomes the traffic and the more traffic the more revenue.

    Just go with the flow.

    Next

    • calicubsfan007

      @WW: People do love a controversy

    • MaxM1908

      I don’t believe it is controversial to provide a clear warning to someone who has consistently engaged in abusive, threatening, and harassing behavior against Brett and visitors to this site.

  • Derrick

    Can we Pleaseeeeeeeeeee stop talking about Almora, Soler and Baez Like they are just locks to be All Stars. We will be lucky if 1/3 even make it to the show and do well let alone all 3. If he had any Interest in signing in Chicago (Which I highly doubt) Theo and Jed should’ve jumped on Upton at that Price. 2015 Guys lol

    • kranzman54

      Agreed, that none are all-stars, all will deffinetely get a shot (although may not succeed and barring injury). I like Almora and Soler’s shots to play well though. Still like Baez’s upside but certainly don’t feel as confident about him as the other two.

    • cub2014

      $15million a year for upton poor numbers last year and been trending down
      the last 3 years. No thanks.

  • kranzman54

    I am pretty sure Upton wanted to sign with a contender. Cubs would not be that until he was probably 30 and really he can help Atlanta (although I am not convinced this is a huge upgrade over Bourn). Kinda wondering if he will lead off for the Braves with that K rate and power? Maybe they call back Shaffer’s number.

    • DarthHater

      I agree. All the talk about whether the Cubs should have pursued Upton seems pointless given the inherent likelihood that he would rather sign with a contender and the absence of any evidence that he would have had any interest in signing with the Cubs.

  • Mike S

    Theo saw Upton while in Boston…my gut says that if they really wanted him, they would have gotten him.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      that if they really wanted him, they would have gotten him.

      It seems like the Phils really wanted Upton, but they didn’t get him. There is only one of the guy, and you do get situations where multiple teams really want him.

      That said, there was zero buzz that the Cubs were one of those teams. And although Upton’s trend towards not walking, swinging at pitches out of the zone and not covering ground in CF carried him to maximums (or minimums) this year, the trend started three years ago: so, Theo might have gotten squeemish then.

  • CrAzyhorse

    What happen, your feeling hurt because someone disagrees with YoU. Most of the time I sit back and read everyones post – 99 percent of the time I leave no comment but when i do it usually because of your idiot friends that just like to spew insult after insult . I take exception when your groupies insult other people , and just like you claim it harrassment. but can you actually harrass someone when they harass first . The exception would be the idiot that actually tries and degrade you by a first name bases to include your family . That is low and should not be done.

    but i will continue to degrade the Cubs front office its a shame a 101 loss season is nothing to you. Unlike you i have no desire to be Little Theo messenger. The man is terrible at being President of Baseball Operations but given time i think he wil improve but someone needs to bring him back to reality.

    And your patsy Michigan Goat ………. harasses and name calls plenty of people

    • DarthHater

      I would make a smart-alecky response, but I’m afraid of Brett now. ;-)

    • BT

      You gave him 13 months. That’s fair.

  • whiteflag

    I don’t think many people here believe a 101 loss season is nothing, but the organization was a complete disaster. It’s going to take time to turn things around. I am not willing to call Theo & Jed saviors. However, I do generally like the path they have the organization on. Spending now would be a waste in my opinion, because the team is missing to many key pieces. I honestly believe the team will spend big bucks down the road. As for now, I like the approach much better than that of let’s say the Marlins.

    • MaxM1908

      And look what happened with the Marlins. They go out and spend like drunken sailors and have to trade the whole team away the next year. Individual “stars” do not make a competitive “team.” It helps, but you need a solid foundation.

  • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

    Upton will cost Atlanta their 1st rd pick too, right?

  • Jason

    I’m glad they didn’t sign Upton for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, speed guys’ primes don’t last as long. You have to expect that his stolen base total- which has already decreased in each of the past 3 seasons- will continue decline into non-factor territory by the time he’s 30 or 31 (and in all likelihood, the earliest the Cubs can expect to be competitive).

    Add in that he’s not a good fielder at all and that his OBP failed to reach .300 last season, and you have a guy that’s relying very heavily on his power to earn his paycheck. And his power in and of itself isn’t even that great. His slugging percentage last year, .454, was 62nd in the majors and 30th among outfielders.

    In many ways, Upton seems like the antithesis of what Epstein and co. have described as “The Cubs Way”. He doesn’t grind out at bats or take very many walks, and his has become increasingly impatient as his career has progressed. In 2008, Upton swung at 15% of pitched outside the zone, and that number has risen every year since to its level last year of 32.7%. By comparison, Adam Dunn swung at 24.8% of pitches outside the zone last year- nearly 8 points lower. That and defense have been stressed to such an extent that I wouldn’t have been surprised if Epstein/Hoyer passed on Upton if he was available for $12 million a year.

    • CrAzyhorse

      The Cubs way? please last years Cubs could not do anything but lose gracefully. The Cubs were close too last in almost every batting stats

      • Jason

        I agree, but most of the guys who were playing sloppy fundamentals or swinging at pitches outside the strike-zone regularly or playing bad defense were guys that had already been here pre-Epstein.

        Guys like David Dejesus, Paul Maholm, and Anthony Rizzo all fit the “Cubs Way” as do other prospects he’s brought in like Almora.

        • whiteflag

          Agree. It’s not exactly fair to judge Theo/Jed on the approaches of players groomed in the Hendry era. It’s going to take time to change philosophies. There is an adjustment period. Things should begin to improve.

  • CrAzyhorse

    Although i wished the Cubs would signed some of those players – breaking the bank would have a been a colossal mistake that might have set back the CUbs for years with the exception of Pujils but its hard to give someone 250 million plus for 9 uears but i think the Cubs were willing to give that big Cardinal a rich contract, it failed so the rebuild begins and the type of players the Cubs can go after is marginal players with upside. Last year by design or failure the Cubs FO gave Chicago its worse team in over forty years

  • BT

    well if that’s all it would have taken, now I AM mad. You’ve really turned me around.

    • JulioZuleta

      That payroll is pushing $200 million with only 13 guys, and I don’t think that team would be nearly as good as you think it would. That’s not a World Series lock.

  • Jimmy james

    And their friggin old

  • todd

    To be honest I never was to high on Upton, I lived just outside of the bay in Clearwate dude never struck me as that good of a player and seemed to consistently hotdog it on the base path and in the field

  • daveyrosello

    Glad the Cubs passed on Upton. He may have an average 4.0 WAR, but that sub-300 OBP and increasing K-rate makes me ill. No more low-OBP guys, please. Especially at $15MM/year.

  • GDB

    Not bothered in the slightest that we weren’t in on Upton. His OBP in 2012 was worse than what both Darwin Barney and Brett Jackson managed. Whoever Theo/Jed eventually sign as our first big name free agent, I expect them to have premium on-base skills.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    Although the Phils wanted Upton, they did not want him anywhere near as badly as the Braves did: it seems that they offered $4M/yr less than the Braves. I suspect that the Phils are not alone in thinking that the Braves spent way too much on BJ.

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