The Philadelphia Phillies recently hired Steve Henderson to be their hitting coach and Bart Braun as a special assistant to the General Manager. What is interesting about those to moves is that both men were formerly in the Rays organization. And according to Ken Rosenthal, some think the moves were made to help land free agent BJ Upton.

Two rival executives smell a rat in the Phillies’ pursuit of free-agent center fielder B.J. Upton…Well, maybe not a rat, but a pair of embedded ex-Raysofficials who know Upton quite well recently assumed prominent positions with the Phils…The moves did not go unnoticed by the Upton camp, and in the words of one player agent, “there are no coincidences in baseball.”

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged that the Phillies are interested in Upton, but said hiring Hendu and Braun had nothing to do with Upton.

On the surface, it does seem like too much to be a coincidence. On the other hand, it is hard to believe that the Phillies would hire a hitting coach with the main purpose of just hoping it will entice Upton to sign there.

Then again, it is quite possible that Upton’s agents had already made it clear to the Phillies that if all-else were equal, Upton would favor the Phillies if Henderson is the hitting coach. And if Hendu was already on their short-list of candidates, Upton could be enough to push him over the top.

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11 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Upton wasn't hitting any better when Henderson was here than now with Sheldon....
    If I was Upton, I would looking for a team with a hitting coach that COULD actually help me, then wait for that next 5-6yr. contract when hes hitting .285 with 30hrs..

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    • s says:

      huh?

      he hit .300 with a .386 OBP in 07 and .273 with a .383 OBP in 08, his 09 number were on par with the 3 year under shelton.

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  2. Geoff Peterson says:

    Upton got surly playing in a market with little media pressure, wait till he has his first big baserunning blunder or golden sombrero in Philly.

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    • Tom says:

      I never actually thought of BJ as surly. Immature, bone-headed, lackadasical sure but never surly. It would be interesting to see how he ould react if he struggled in Philly, to his credit he seems to have matured alot the past couple of years.

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      • Raysfan137 says:

        Totally nailed it, Tom. Immature, bone-headed, etc. He definitely improved on the maturity front. Never will improve his baseball intelligence however. Bad judgements on when to throw the ball home or when to hold a runner on first and let a run score. Picked off way too much. Can't fix those things if they aren't fixed past high school, IMO. But he will be successful for someone by some definition of success.

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  3. Erlene Eaker says:

    I stopped reading the MSM around 2005 and have been using alternative news sources every since.

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  4. Dustin says:

    From the comments here, you'd never guess that Upton was two homers away from a 30-30 season and probably the Rays best offensive player in 2012. I don't have any stats handy, but from watching games this year, I thought both his base-running and fielding decisions were significantly improved this year. He's probably never going to hit for average, but with his speed/power combo, that's not too big a deal. If he could get his OBP up a bit, which is far from out of the question, he could go from being good to great. I'll miss him when he's gone.

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    • Tom says:

      I like BJ and will miss hime when he is gone too that does not change the fact that he made more than his share of bone-headed plays.

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      • Dustin says:

        Lots of players make bone-headed plays, and Upton's been a steadier contributor in that regard than he ought to be, but that doesn't change the fact that he's been one of the best players, on offense and defense, for the Rays since he became a regular starter. For at least two different crucial stretches (the 2008 post-season and this year's unsuccessful stretch run) Bossman more-or-less carried the team. Seeing those kinds of flashes from Upton, I think, makes us more critical of his everyday play than we ought to be. He's good, like top-twenty outfielder good when you factor in defense and offense. Many of the commenters seem to think the Rays are better off without Upton. That's laughable. It's pretty much impossible for the Rays to lose him this off-season and come into next year better on offense or defense.

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        • Tom says:

          I agree with everything until the last sentence. They will most likely be better offensively due to Longoria (hopefully) playing more in 2013. On top of that they will probably pick up a FA who will produce more than Scott and Pena did and hopefully trade a SP for a hitter.

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        • s says:

          we don't have a choice, we have to let him go. there's no way in hell we can afford him, or risk the chance of signing him to a huge deal and have him be nothing more than a slightly above average CF for the next 5 years.

          will we be able to replace his numbers at CF? no probably not, but we sure can improve elsewhere with the difference in cash between his 13 million and what we are going to pay our CFer.

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