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Nationals’ interest in B.J. Upton has cooled somewhat

Aug 25, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT

B.J. Upton Getty Images

B.J. Upton was among the many center fielders consistently linked to the Nationals at the trade deadline and the Rays placed him on revocable waivers yesterday, potentially setting up a trade.

However, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post “some Nationals scouts are lukewarm on him, especially at the plate” and “there’s healthy debate within the Nationals about the merits of making Upton their answer in center field.”

And rightfully so. Upton’s defense is excellent, but he’s hit just .235 with a .313 on-base percentage and .396 slugging percentage in 419 games during the past three seasons, including .224 with a .694 OPS this year.

He’s still just 26 years old, but Upton is in line for at least $6 million via arbitration next season and will then be eligible for free agency. Tampa Bay has Desmond Jennings as the heir apparent in center field, so their interest in getting something for Upton before he leaves for nothing is easy to understand. He may not make it to the Nationals on waivers anyway, in which case the current speculation will be moot, but all the Upton-to-Washington rumors figure to come alive again this offseason.

  1. APBA Guy - Aug 25, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    After a week in FL watching the Rays (sorry OG, mom’s cable had the Marlins as a “premium” channel, so no observations) , I can see why they are cool to BJ Upton. He runs beautifully, and is very good in center, but appears to have no clue how to handle major league at bats. He has talent at the plate (ie, good bat speed), but no game plan and little discipline. Desmond Jennings only serves to make him look even worse, with his excellent strike zone awareness.

  2. xmatt0926x - Aug 25, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    Agree totally. I just don’t get the BJ Upton love from the Nationals. They strike me as a team so desperate to become good that they are going to spend all their money too quickly without being patient enough to wait until the right players are available. Go ask Daniel Snyder of the Redskins how that works out. Or just go ask Jason Werth.

    • kinggw - Aug 25, 2011 at 5:17 PM

      What are you talking about? The Nats have only been around for five years. Werth was the biggest purchase they have made. Desperate would be signing Jose Canseco, Greg Vaughn, and Vinny Castilla. Remember that Rays fans? They havent reached on any other free agent acquisitions or taken on any bad trades so I dont understand the Snyder reference or the so desperate to win claim.

      Upton despite his troubles at the plate is better than anyone the Nats currently have in center, and sometimes all players need is a change of scenery. The Rays closed the book on Josh Hamilton, how did that work out? Chances are this story was floated by the Nats brass to lower the price if they put in a claim on Upton.

  3. pisano - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    This guys been overrated for years. The speculation years ago was that he’d be a superstar, not gonna happen. He has speed and is a good outfielder, but he can’t hit his ass with both hands. He’ll always be good in the outfield, but that’s where his talent will stay. His brother is more the complete player.

  4. kingbuccaneer - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    Please take this ass-hat off our roster!

    Dez, The Truth, Jennings is going to be here for a LONG time…

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