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Rays, Nationals have been talking about B.J. Upton

Dec 6, 2011, 2:02 PM EDT

B.J. Upton AP

We heard Monday that the Rays would need to be overwhelmed in order to move B.J. Upton, but according to’s Jon Paul Morosi, they have had some recent conversations with the Nationals about their center fielder.

Washington has long been a suitor for Upton as it seeks to fill a big hole in center field. The Nationals have some interest in re-signing Rick Ankiel and moving Jayson Werth to center hasn’t been completely ruled out, but the team would love a long-term solution.

The problem there with Upton, besides his history of inconsistent offense, is that he’s now just one year away from free agency. He’s due a raise to $7 million or so in arbitration. Negotiating a long-term deal with Upton would likely be problematic, given his young, perceived upside and modest numbers. While he’s been a well above average regular despite hitting .237 and .243 the last two years, he’s never come close to matching the numbers he put up as a 22-year-old in 2007.

Since Upton is only under control for the one year, it’s doubtful the Nationals would be willing to give up closer Drew Storen for him, and the Nationals can’t offer the Rays any bats that would help them immediately. A match seems unlikely.

  1. baseballisboring - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    I think all 30 teams have discussed trading for Upton at some point. It’s not even a juicy rumor anymore. Just trade the guy already.

    • djpostl - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:38 PM

      Sure, I’ll give you a bucket of used batting practice balls for that over-rated tool.

      • JBerardi - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:11 PM

        How is he over-rated when no one likes him? If anything, he’s quite underrated.

  2. xmatt0926x - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Has anyone determined what exactly BJ Upton provides other than occasional pop here and there? I don’t get the Nationals seeming obsession with this guy.

    • shawndc04 - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:32 PM

      I’m not sure that our management does have an obsession. So much of the reporting coming out of the meetings is so erroneous and so changing that I have difficulty in believing most of it. I don’t believe that Upton is a “have-to-have” guy for the Nationals, as Harper will be up, at the latest, mid-season barring a complete flop, and Werth will then move to center.

      • basiltharat - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM

        Exactly right — be at least a little skeptical of anything you read. As for what Upton provides, his WARs since he became a regular in 2007 are 4.5, 5.0, 2.4, 4.0 and 4.1. Most Rays fans have come to terms with the fact that he’ll never be the superstar we envisioned, but he’s a good ballplayer.

      • hittfamily - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:30 PM

        a 5 WAR player goes to the Hall of Fame, but a 4.5 WAR centerfielder making 7 mil with 30/40 potential every year is a steaming pile of ****. The ignorance of some of the posters here is astounding.

    • JBerardi - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:12 PM

      Defense in center field and a decent walk rate. He’s not a terrible player.

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