Danny Knobler is reporting (via Twitter) that the Rays placed BJ Upton on waivers this week. This must be done in order to trade a player in August. If Upton clears waivers (unlikely) the Rays are free to negotiate a trade with any team. If Upton is claimed, the Rays can only negotiate a trade with that team.
Upton joins Johnny Damon, James Shields, and Kyle Farnsworth as members of the Rays that have been exposed to waivers this month. Damon is the only player known to have cleared waivers.
Interestingly, Adam Kilgore speculates that the Nationals, and other teams, will just wait for the Rays to non-tender Upton this winter. A player is non-tendered if he has less than six years of service time but the team doesn’t want to pay whatever the player’s arbitration salary would be. By non-tendering Upton, the Rays would essentially be allowing Upton to become a free agent a year early. We have already written about how silly this idea is, so it is strange that Kilgore just assumes it will happen.
Upton will likely make $6.5-7.0 million in arbitration for the 2012 season. That is certainly more than the Rays would like to pay, but it is still a good deal for a player like Upton. And the Rays are not a team that likes to just give up players for nothing.