We had already heard that the Rangers might be interested in BJ Upton replacing Josh Hamilton. Now, courtesy of TR Sullivan of MLB.com, we have word that the Rangers are interested.
But what is most interesting about Sullivan’s report is the possibility that the Rangers would want Upton to play either left field or center field. It is unclear if this is just Sullivan’s own speculation or if that is something the Rangers are considering internally.
Most of us who watch Upton on a regular basis know that Upton is one of the better center fielders in baseball. And most teams would laugh at the thought of moving a plus-defensive centerfielder to another position. But what is interesting is that most advanced defensive statistics consider Upton to be below-average.
In the past, I have speculated that this is due to howJoe Maddon positions Upton. Bossman may not be catching the same balls that typical outfielders would catch because he is in different position to start (e.g. playing shallow he catches fewer balls near the wall).
Still, it will be interesting to see if other teams feel Upton is better-suited in one of the corners spots (most likely right field with his strong arm), or if teams do indeed see the same things defensively that most Rays fans already know.