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.

 
 

5 Comments

  1. Greg says:

    I find it a little odd that the Rangers are thinking Craig Gentry will be their CF over Upton (if they were to obtain him). My thinking here is that if you don’t value BJ defensively as a center fielder, then you don’t make him an offer. If you just look at advanced metrics, BJ is actually more valuable offensively and Gentry is considered better defensively by quite a bit, but he’s been a part-time player thus far.

  2. Matt says:

    B.J.’s arm strength would completely be taken away in left field. That’d be a terrible move.

  3. Tom says:

    The D-Back traded Chris Young, I wonder if this is a precursor to their signing BJ.

  4. Don says:

    I was thinking about this the other Day, Rays really screwed upton when they switched him to CF, He came up as a SS , If he was an Avg. Defensive SS but hit .250 with 20 hrs and 30 stolen bases, he would be an All Star worth ?? who knows, plus could have helped the Rays when they didn’t have a hitting SS…as a CF he is only AVG. player.. never an allstar..

    • Tom says:

      Upton was terrible at Shortstop. He made 179 errors in 444 professional games. The Rays gave him ample opportunity to improve and he worked with Ozzie Smith in the off season but his arm was never acccurate enough for him to be a reliable defensive Shortstop.

      It looks like the D-Backs are going to give Adam Eaton a shot in Centerfield so it seems unlikely Upton is headed there.

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