B.J. Upton is the Braves' top free agent target, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman (on Twitter). The club had visions of signing both Upton and Torii Hunter this offseason, but the latter agreed to a two-year deal with the Tigers today.
Upton, 28, hit .246/.298/.454 with a career-high 28 homers in 633 plate appearances last season. He also stole 31 bases, his fifth straight season over 30. Upton would replace at least some of the speed and center field defense lost by departing free agent Michael Bourn, plus his right-handed bat would help balance Atlanta's lefty heavy level.
The Braves figure to lose Bourn this winter and Chipper Jones has retired, but Martin Prado's versatility would allow the club to pursue two outfielders rather than an outfielder and a third baseman. MLBTR's Tim Dierked ranked Upton as the fifth best free agent this offseason in his Top 50 Free Agents List, predicting he would sign with the Phillies.