Rays fans appreciated everything he gave them in a Rays uniform, but B.J. Upton has moved on, signing a 5-year contract with the Atlanta Braves. After over 10 years in the Rays organization, the time has finally arrived for B.J. Upton to reflect on his time in Tampa Bay.
“I loved playing in Tampa,” Upton told the Tampa Bay Times. “I loved playing with those guys. And I wish I could have continued to do that. But I think we both know that wasn’t going to happen. I was prepared to leave mentally. And I’m happy with the way it turned out.”
We all saw Upton cry during his last game with the Rays. It was clear that he couldn’t believe it was over. But it’s clear that it sunk in for him that he wasn’t going to be back and he found a way to move on. He realized that he loved his time in a Rays uniform, but at the same time it was time for him to begin the next chapter of his career and he found himself lucky enough to receive a 75.25 million dollar contract to spend the next five years in Atlanta.
“I look back on my time in Tampa with a lot of great memories and a lot of great teammates,” he said later. “I grew up in the big leagues, so there were a lot of ups and down. But I wouldn’t change a thing.”
(On what he’ll miss most about playing for the Rays) “The fans, man,” he said. “I know we had our ups and downs, but they really supported me. I was a Ray for 10 years, and the support meant a lot. I’ll never forget it.”
Upton’s time with the Rays was certainly not smooth sailing, but he played a major role in the Rays’ incredible run of the last five years, and even when he struggled, the Rays stuck with him and in return Upton gave the Rays everything he could. It’s sad to see Upton go, but after everything he did for the Rays, Rays fans can’t wish him anything but the best moving forward.
Speaking of Upton, Rays’ president Matthew Silverman discussed how what Upton meant to the Rays and how they will move on without him among other topics as he answered questions from fans in MLB.com’s Chatting Cage. Silverman gave some nice, honest answers, and the video is worth watching.
David Price won the Cy Young Award for the Rays a few weeks ago, but at a dinner for his charity, Project One Four, Price talked to the Tennessean about how he has kept things the same since winning the award.
“I don’t wake up and feel any different,” Price said. “I guess I see the two words ‘Cy Young’ a lot more now and I hear it a lot more, and that’s perfectly fine by me. I don’t think life has changed really. It might be a little bit different in the upcoming years, but right now I don’t think it has put a change to anything.”
“I want to be a normal guy walking down the street,” Price said.
David Price is obviously an unbelievable pitcher, but it’s incredible how interactive he is with fans and Twitter and he has always seemed like a very down-to-earth guy. It has been a really treat for Rays fans seeing him on the mound and off.
And finally, Fangraphs’ David Laurlia interviewed the Rays’ top draft pick from 2011 and one of their top pitching prospects, right-hander Taylor Guerrieri. The whole interview is worth the read as you can learn a lot about Guerrieri’s repertoire and his approach and development as a pitcher, and it also seems clear that the supposed attitude problems that he had entering the 2011 MLB Draft are a non-issue. Here’s a sample.
DL: How important is velocity to your game?
TG: It is important. I’m not going to lie. But I think a lot of it is about pitch sequence and location. I’ve learned a lot this summer. Like when to throw certain pitches, how to throw certain pitches and how to go up with the fastball — not just east and west, but north and south. Changing the eye levels of hitters is huge.