The Phillies are putting other needs on hold until they sign a center fielder, agents and executives told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. B.J. Upton has been identified as a priority for the Phillies, who invited the free agent to visit their park and city last week.
The 28-year-old could seek a six-year deal and while the Phillies probably prefer a four-year term, Gelb suggests they might be willing to go to five years. The Phillies are also fond of Michael Bourn and have confidence that he could handle playing in Philadelphia, Gelb writes. Other potential targets include free agent Angel Pagan and trade candidates such as Dexter Fowler and Denard Span.
The Braves also have strong interest in Upton — he appears to be their top target. The Nationals have at least some interest in Upton, who ranks fifth on MLBTR’s list of the offseason’s top 50 free agents. As I explained earlier this month, the Phillies also have needs at third base and in the bullpen this winter.