B.J. Upton announced Sunday that he now wants to go by his birth name, Melvin Upton Jr., and considering his struggles for the Braves in recent years lots of people assumed he was doing it as a way to clean the slate/turn the page/whatever cliche you want to use.
Not so, says Upton, telling Mark Bowman of MLB.com:
This has nothing to do with starting a new chapter. I just wanted to. My father thought enough to give me his name, so why not? It was the name that was given to me as a kid. So I felt I wanted to go by my real name. Most of my friends call me Mel or Melvin. Nobody really calls me B.J., except at the stadium.
“B.J.” stood for Bossman Junior, because Upton’s father was known as Bossman.
Jon Morosi reported on Saturday that the Marlins signed veteran reliever Brandon Kintzler to a one-year contract worth $3.25 million. The deal includes a club option for 2020 worth $4 million with a $250,000 buyout, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.
Kintzler, 35, put up a terrific 2.68 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 13 walks over 57 innings for the Cubs last season. He’s been mostly good in recent years, but relievers in their mid-30’s have had a tough time finding multi-year deals.
The Marlins have a handful of players who could rack up saves this coming season, namely Drew Steckenrider and José Ureña along with Kintzler. The club will likely use spring training to determine an official closer, if they name one at all. The Marlins have also expressed interest in free agent Pedro Strop.