The Winter Meetings are in full swing now and rumors are the Rays are looking at offers for center fielder B.J. Upton. While there are mixed feeling surrounding the fast footed fielder, the answer for this rumor should be simple, don’t trade him!
Upton is an incredible center fielder, boasting a great glove and speed. There are very few that can cover the amount of ground that he can and battle the catwalks in the Trop. Someone criticized Upton for his “lack” of hustle on a double hit against the Rays early in the season, a point that boiled over in the dugout when Upton and Longoria nearly went at each other. But the entire Rays team was struggling at that point in the season and it seemed to spark the team to get back into action and play a bit harder. No punches were thrown and both players realized they were frustrated.
On the base, Upton steals 40 bases easily a season and causes trouble for a pitcher and catcher as they always have to watch him. Upton at the plate is a bit harder to figure. He has the potential to hit for a high batting average, but often is trying to drive the ball instead of taking what the pitcher is giving him. He has power to all fields and if placed in the right spot in the lineup (come on Maddon), Upton could flourish and help lead the Rays offense .
But the Rays are open to trading the center fielder, but this is a terrible move. His contract has a few more years on it and replacing him with another play with the same tools is nearly impossible. Jennings and company do not have the speed that Upton has or the potential he may have if he is able to figure out his swing (no thanks to Derek Shelton).