When B.J. Upton arrived at Turner Field for what was essentially a recruiting visit on Nov. 15, he did not know what to expect. This was Upton's first venture into the world of free agency, and the Rays had been the only organization he had known since being drafted at the age of 17.
Over the course of the three-plus hours that followed, Braves general manager Frank Wren, manager Fredi Gonzalez and former manager Bobby Cox produced the kind of hospitable atmosphere that provided Upton reason to believe he wanted to call Atlanta his new home for the foreseeable future.
"These guys got me," Upton said. "There is no other way to put it. They had me when I came here. I left here and I felt really good about it."
Two weeks after that influential visit, the mild-mannered and soft-spoken Upton returned to Atlanta to sign the largest contract the Braves have provided a free agent.
Wren and Gonzalez were among the members of the Braves organization who were seen smiling on Thursday afternoon when Upton signed his five-year, $75.25 million deal. His average annual salary of $15.05 million eclipses the $15 million salary Derek Lowe gained after signing a four-year, $60 million contract with Atlanta in January 2009.
Read more: B.J. Upton introduced in Atlanta after signing deal | MLB.com: News