Buster Olney of ESPN.com dropped this little nugget on Twitter yesterday…

The Rays will listen to offers on B.J. Upton –but probably won’t trade him unless they can get a good bat in trade (not nec. in same trade)

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise to most Rays fans. But what is interesting here is how the basics sound a lot like what Ken Rosenthal reported two weeks ago.

In that piece, Rosenthal wrote that he finds it “difficult to imagine” the Rays trading Upton. But he added later that the Rays could be persuaded with the right deal.

It sure looks like the Rays want everybody to know that they have no problem holding on to Upton. In other words, if you want Upton, don’t think you can have him for cheap just because he isn’t playing well, and the Rays have decided their future lies down a different path.

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11 Comments

  1. Mark E says:

    "It sure looks like the Rays want everybody to know that they have no problem holding on to Upton" -- Is this just posturing by management, in an attempt to limit proposals to "serious offers only"?

    Unless they think they'll get next to nothing for him, I see no logic in the Rays keeping BJ. In my opinion, he can be easily replaced with multiple Rays assets who can hit .218, steal 30 bases (with a third as many caught-off-the-bag outs) and play solid (albeit not as rangy) CF, AND command way South of $5 mil - freeing up some money for a decent bat.

    Speaking of bats, it would be nice to see Ruggiano start in LF - it's not like they don't need the offense he brings. That would leave Fuld needing a job. Why not CF for Fuld? I'm definitely not on board with the Fuld fanatics, but he's proven he'll give 100%, all the time; he's hitting better than BJ; can steal a base (although he's had some BJ-like mental errors stealing); and his range of defense needs no mention. If management insists on keeping Des down, why not consider this way-cheaper option?

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    • Don says:

      Fuld has every bit as much "burst speed" as BJ and is willing to dive to make catches... BJ is not, he is more effective at plate although avg.
      not much better..perfect fit in CF.. plus RUGG. & Joyce..I'll Take it

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    • Derek says:

      Fuld is a 4th outfielder, as is Ruggs.

      BJ has the power potential that neither of those guys have. With Matt Joyce hurting, or whatever, I'd rather not fill the outfield with singles hitters.

      Lets not forget that Ruggs cleared waivers earlier this year.

      This is easily Upton's worst season, so far, but let's not pretend that any Joe Blow can play center field and steal 40+ bases.

      That being said, I do want them to trade BJ, but not so Fuld can show he isn't made for center, but so that Jennings can show that he is.

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    • Mark E says:

      I would prefer Jennings as well, as I said. But the Rays management have their reasons for keeping him down (an entirely different conversation).

      I am so, so sick and tired of hearing the word "potential" used as a precursor to BJ Upton's greatness. Seriously man, I was on board the first couple years because I could see that he had the skillset. But what good is storing tools in the shed that you aren't willing to use? BJ is great when he's motivated to be great, and ONLY when HE is motivated. I'm not going to waste pixels by listing his history of examples. If there is a coach, manager or organization out there who can figure out how to motivate BJ, then let them have him.

      This is BJ's worst season??? Yes? All the more reason to dump him this season. 40+ stolen bases is great, but his caught-stealing/off base is too high and his base running decisions -- I don't think they keep stats on that.

      I never suggested that we trade BJ just so Fuld can get the job. My post was in response to trading BJ UPTON. It wasn't a cheerleading-for-Sam-Fuld post. Like I said, I'm not one of the Fuld fanatics, but what does he have to do to prove he's not a "Joe Blow" in the outfield? I don't like seeing Fuld at the plate with RISP, but I'm no more comfortable seeing the same tired pitch serious to BJ for the 3rd out: PITCH 1-slider/strike. PITCH 2-slider/foul ball to Sec 118, Row X. PITCH 3- fastball/strike 3 looking, angry look at umpire, finger in the earhole, renegade cool cat walk back to dugout.

      I'll take a singles hitter over a .237 avg., 18HRs, 164 strikeout leader right now. The Rays need offense man. They need a batter who recognizes that when they're down by a run with bases loaded, a grand slam is really spectacular, but a ground ball single up the middle scores 2 runs and puts the TEAM in the lead. Do I think Fuld is that hitter? - No. But even if his average was the same as BJs right now (it's higher), I'll take Fulds effort, ability and team player attributes over BJ. Again, I'd like to see Jennings get a shot first, but...

      Fuld, Jennings... whoever. BJ has gotten chance after chance after chance. And now he's getting the second highest salary on the team to play the way he plays the game. I don't want to see another Rays v. BJ arbitration this year. I wish I had 10% of the "potential" he has... I would USE IT.

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      • Derek says:

        I'm not referencing potential he has yet to reach. He shows power all the time. Last night for instance. Fuld is just as terrible on the bases, if not worse, he is not a center fielder. His routes are crap. He dives because he is short and he doesn't get quality jumps, not because he plays the game harder than BJ. Go on and waste your time naming all of the instances BJ hasn't done this or that. He is still, by far, the best option we have (outside of Jennings).

        My point is, if forced to play every day, neither Ruggs nor Fuld would be better options. If they were, BJ would have already been traded. These guys aren't offense. They are defensive subs who played over their heads, so stop kidding yourself.

        Talk about effort all you want. I want the guy who makes over the shoulder catches in Baltimore, while playing one of the hardest positions on the field. You can have the guy that has to dive all over the place, while playing one of the easiest positions on the field.

        At his worst, BJ is still better than Fuld.

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        • Sarah says:

          Why do you say Fuld's routes are crap? That was always my beef with Jonny Gomes -- he was always making (or attempting) dramatic diving catches that looked impressive, but you knew that a different fielder could have made the same catch without getting his uniform dirty. But Fuld doesn't give me the impression of someone unable to run directly to the ball (although some of his diving may indeed be compensating for how short he is -- damn he looks little out there). I'm not saying he's our center fielder of the future; I'm not even trying to compare him favorably to BJ (who I think is really a wonderful center fielder, even if I cringe when he comes to the plate). But I think his defensive accomplishments are the real deal.

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          • Derek says:

            Last night, on the ESPN game, Bobby V was talking about A-Rod rounding 3rd base. He was talking about where he starts off from second, and how it causes this swooping line around third, instead of running closer to the baseline. This reminds me of Fuld. It doesn't seem like he gets good jumps, and because he has to shift his momentum so drastically, he takes these swooping routes, where it looks like he is doing more chasing instead of cutting off. Plus, a lot of the balls he comes in on, it doesn't look like he needs to go to the ground to get them. If you watch the reply of the second catch in the 8th, he didn't need to dive for that.

            Not that it's not fun to watch, but I just think he makes his job look harder than it is.

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        • Mark E says:

          Unbelievable

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  2. ALLEN says:

    This persistent call for Jennings in CF is bunk. Show me when and where he has demonstrated the ability to play in the big leagues. He hasn't done it. He hit .278 at Durham last year and is hitting .279 so far this year. That's at AAA and its a big jump to Tampa. He has 100 more plate appearances than did Ruggs and has only one more SB. He didn't play well in Spring Training this season and hasn't done anything anytime he has been called up in regular season. Maybe you're right, but I just don't see the reason for all this enthusiasm for Desmond Jennings.

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    • Derek says:

      It's not that hard to see.

      His .375 OBP would be second on the team. His .457 SLG would be forth on the team. He stole 52 bases in 2009, and 37 last year. He hardly ever gets caught too. Why would the team want him trying to swipe a bunch of bags this year? They don't need him hurting his hand while diving into second, they know he is a solid base stealer. He has 33 walks, which would be second on the team. Stats wont tell you much about his defense, but his speed makes it easy to see his future in center. Let's not forget that he is already at nine home runs, two away from his career high.

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      • ALLEN says:

        His minor league stats can't be compared with other's major league statistics (I assume that's what you're doing). Some of the other attributes you mention, Derek, are impressive. Your point about base stealing this year is excellent if your interpretation is correct. It seems to me that some are calling for the arrival of Jennings as a starter and my concern is that he has not yet been proven in the major leagues. If he is able to duplicate his AAA and lower stats up here, I would welcome his arrival to replace BJ. hit .311, .303 and .269 his 3 years at Durham, stole a lot of bases and hit some homeruns. He did strike out a lot. Now he's a .230 hitter (we hope) and still strikes out a lot.

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