What's a .255 hitter worth these days? Apparently, it's $75.25 million
B.J. Upton might well turn out to be a good signing for the Braves. In fact, I think there's a good chance he will. But it's still a little stunning to see a guy with a .255 career batting average end up with a contract that will pay him $15.05 million a year. It's never happened before.
Batting average isn't everything.
But did you see that the Braves just gave $75.25 million to a .255 hitter?
For what it's worth, I actually think the Braves did well to sign B.J. Upton, for many of the reasons colleague Scott Miller pointed out in his blog Wednesday. Upton has huge talent, has been at his best when the games count the most, and if he ever really puts that talent to use, the $75.25 million could well look like a bargain.
Still, $15.05 million a year for a .255 hitter (and that's being kind, using Upton's career average, rather than his .246 average from 2012)?
If you're guessing that's never happened before, you're guessing right. Of the 39 previous position-player contracts that averaged $15 million or more a year, none went to anyone with a career batting average that low. The previous low was Andruw Jones, who was a .263 hitter when the Dodgers gave him $36.2 million for two years in December 2007.
Upton is a talented center fielder (although he sometimes seems to lose focus). He has power (although he has yet to hit 30 home runs or drive in 100 runs in a season). He has speed.
But he has played 966 games in the big leagues, and his career average is .255.
The Braves just gave him $75.25 million.