Braves “are very much shopping” Justin Upton

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Atlanta traded away outfielder Jason Heyward with one season remaining on his contract and now the Braves are apparently looking to do the same with outfielder Justin Upton.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Braves “are very much shopping” the 27-year-old Upton and “are requesting a higher return than they received” for the 25-year-old Heyward, which was Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins from the Cardinals.

Upton is owed $14.5 million for 2015 and is coming off a season in which he hit .270 with 29 homers and an .833 OPS. His defense, however, consistently rates poorly by advanced metrics. Overall he ranked 18th among all MLB outfielders in Wins Above Replacement, sandwiched between Starling Marte of the Pirates and Nelson Cruz of the Orioles.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.