Does Upton Want To Stay?

By Dustin Staggers

There has been a feeling in Tampa for a few seasons, that CF BJ Upton had no real interest in signing with the Rays long term.  Upton, before playing in the Second Annual BJ Upton Celebrity Golf Classic, might have dispelled those rumors a little bit.

"“You know what, I’m definitely all for that,” said Upton prior to tee-off time for the Second Annual B.J. Upton Celebrity Golf Classic Monday at Tampa’s Hunter’s Green Country Club. “I love the city of Tampa and I’d love to be here for an extensive period of time. So if that’s something they want to talk about, I definitely have open ears for it.”“B.J. is a very important part of this organization and we would like for him to remain so for the foreseeable future,” he said. “While we don’t discuss specifics on contracts or potential contracts, we are, of course, open to exploring a long term deal with B.J., said GM Andrew Friedman.”"

My question is what is it going to take to sign BJ to a long term deal?  There is no doubt, he has a skill set that is very Grady Sizemore-esque, but has never fully put together any string of consistency.  His 2008 Playoffs though, showed you what BJ is capable of doing if his mind and heart are in the game.  A lot of people question both that mind and that heart though.

In BJ’s defense, there are a lot of writers and pundits who believe that BJ’s shoulder was much worse than he ever led on, contributing to his awful hitting in 2009.

The Rays are playing a risky game regardless of the stance they take with a long term extension for BJ.  If he has another bad year, his trade value would be awfully low.  If he has a big year, he’s either going to get a raise from his salary this year (either 3 mil or 3.3 mil depending on the outcome of his arbitration hearing) or he’s going to want a hefty guaranteed yearly salary in a multi year deal.  I don’t envy Andrew Friedman when it comes to BJ’s contract situation.  Maybe a 3-4 year 16-20 mil deal would be a perfect balance for both parties.