The trade deadline came and went and BJ Upton is still a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. But all the signs suggest the lack of a trade is only delaying the inevitable.

The latest comes from Jon Heyman buried deep in his column yesterday (emphasis is ours)…

Baseball people seem to agree that B.J. Upton needs a change of scenery. Most players thrive in Tampa, but word has gotten out that manager Joe Maddon is frustrated with Upton. He’ll be a better candidate for a winter trade because non-contenders will have a chance to consider him, as well.

That Maddon would be frustrated with Upton is nothing new. Bossman was benched twice for lack of effort during the 2008 late-season playoff push. But this makes it sound like Maddon has reached him limit and may have given up on Upton.

During all the chaos of the last two weeks, Upton repeated several times that he wants to stay with the Rays. But it may be hard to justify keeping a guy whose production is getting worse, not better (see below), doesn’t have the confidence of the manager, and could be the most expensive player on the 2012 roster.

The trade deadline may have bought Upton a couple of more months with the Rays. But his days are still numbered.



  1. Sarah says:

    You've got to hand it to BJ. Anyone who could exhaust the patience of Maddon, who, his critics note, is loyal to a fault, must have worked hard at it.

    You'd think that a guy who wants to stay in this area as much as BJ claims he does would be finding all kinds of ways to prove his value to the team -- but that sure hasn't been the case. Or do you think he figures his best way to stay put is to underperform and scare off potential trade partners? Or maybe his claims that he wants to stay here are garbage and he's ready to go.

    • Caity says:

      Sarah, I totally agree with you. I've liked BJ on and off throughout my time as a Rays fan, there have been some things that he's done that have made me love him. Then there have been moments where I've come to dislike him. I personally think he's saying he wants to stay here to make Rays fans happy, but In my honest opinion, I think he wants to be traded. Theres no doubt that he needs a change of scenery, but who besides the Nationals, and teams that arent in contention need him?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      "You’ve got to hand it to BJ. Anyone who could exhaust the patience of Maddon, who, his critics note, is loyal to a fault, must have worked hard at it."

      That is definitely the most amazing part of this. How does any player frustrate Joe Maddon that much? It's been a while since we have seen Upton show a lack of effort. Maybe it is those occasional bonehead plays like being doubled-off first base the other day. And maybe it is the constant bickering at umpires, which in turn could, in theory, hurt the rest of the team. And maybe it is just all of it. But man, that is not an easy thing to do.

      • David says:

        You are not paying attention then. On Tuesday night he played a single by Raja Davis into a double by lazily circling the ball. On pretty much 100% of the time, he's not busting it out of the box on infield groundballs. Especially potential double play balls.

        Let me ask you this: If you had BJ and DJ run a 90 foot race. The winner got $50,000. If 2nd place was within 2 feet of the winner, he got $25,000. If the winner won by more than 2 feet, he gets all $75,000. I guarantee BJ would walk home with at least $25,000. If you had the same race with DJ and Ben Zobrist, DJ would walk with $75,000 every time.

        Yet, BJ Upton runs to first base slower than Ben Zobrist (batting right handed) most of the time.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          I've seen those. And i think those get back to something I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. It is not that I think BJ is being lazy. I just dont think he is a very smart baseball player. Sometimes he goes hard when he doesnt need to. And sometime he goes slow when the play calls for more aggressiveness. Because BJ makes as many mistakes being too agressive as he does the other way around.

          • LoLJFH says:

            Truer words have never been spoken.

          • Don says:

            WHy is Maddon always the last to "see/know, when people (the Fans),He
            ( Maddon) says are stupid, knew all along what a pain in the ass upton was, besides not being a good baseball player. Just look at this year if upton wasn't here Fuld probably would have started in CF and Jennings would have been here a long time ago, Do you think the Rays would have been better or worse???
            Ask Maddon...

        • Tom says:

          One of the reasons he gets out of the box so slow is his swing. His back ankle is twisted at a strange angle so his first step out of the box is slow.

  2. David says:

    It gives me confidence that Maddon may not be such a dolt if BJ's lack of effort is finally wearing thin. I say get rid of BJ quick before he rubs off on Desmond Jennings.

  3. Gus says:

    Upton's blocking the development of other players in the system is one of the underreported aspect of his decline. Jennings never gets the last year back. Financially, the Rays would have been much better to move him. They are so obsessed with buying low and selling high, sometimes low is just going to stay low.

  4. jim says:

    "because non-contenders will have a chance to consider him, as well"
    weren't the nationals one of the major players involved in our talks? we could have possible gotten an every day catcher.

    i truly believe we could have received better value before the deadline. contending teams are desperate and trying to fill major holes to make a run. besides, do you honestly think bj's performance is going to improve before the end of the season? part of the "lure" of bj before the deadline was that he wasn't a half season rental. now that is gone, he'll be a full season rental is he's traded and somehow turns it around.

  5. Andy says:

    Totally agree that Upchuck dogs it on more plays than not. Two plays today speak to that. 1st was the triple that he gave to Molina who hadn't hit one for like 2-3 yrs. 2nd was the triple that he got by actually running all out after the 1st few steps out of the box. If you watch a replay, you can see him switch gears, to the 1 that Maddon & the rest of us would like to see him use a hell of a lot more often!!! I venture to guess that if he'd have run like that after Molina's ball, he might have been able to dive & catch it - like we see Sam Fuld do all of the time (all out run + dive)!! Also agree that he whines way too much - usually after strikes he doesn't bother to swing at - & runs bases like a dolt too many times!!

    • Sarah says:

      Agree on the whining. agree on the slowness out of the box (although see Tom and Cork's comments above -- this doesn't seem to me like laziness -- it's not like he's thinking "I'll just have a little snooze here and then I'll get going" -- but more that he's never trained himself to figure out what it takes, mentally or mechanically, to shave a few seconds off his jump). But I don't buy the critique of his fielding. Maybe he could have judged the carom on Molina's ball a bit better, but for the most part he is really masterful in center field. It's easy to get excited about Sam Fuld's dives and leaps, and I appreciate Fuld's efforts, but the fact is BJ doesn't need to do all that diving and leaping because he gets to where he needs to go.

      And while I think the criticisms of BJ are largely on target, I wonder if we could lay off for 24 hours after he delivered two crucial extra base hits?

      • Dre says:

        "It’s easy to get excited about Sam Fuld’s dives and leaps, and I appreciate Fuld’s efforts, but the fact is BJ doesn’t need to do all that diving and leaping because he gets to where he needs to go."

        i have to respectfully disagree with this statement. he doesn't always get where he needs to go. if he did there would be no source of frustration. having watched him play for so many years now, and at one point buying into the "the way he glides makes him looks like he's not running hard" theory myself, there is a distinct difference from when he is putting in effort and when he is not. he's not getting there because he's choosing not to, or because someone at some point taught him he's not at fault for not trying harder than normal on lazy singles or balls that are over his head. the biggest problem he's created for himself is every so often we see a glimpse of him actually trying and hustling, and therefore making it glaringly apparent that he is not doing that on an everyday basis.
        and i have to disagree about laying off for 24 hours. yes i appreciate his hits yesterday, but that is not enough for me to put blinders on and give him a day off of criticism. if this was shoppach or brignac, we'd still be harping on the same things. upton is no exception to that

        • Andy says:

          Couldn't agree more w/your retort, Dre; especially like your mention about balls over his head b/c I swear he jogs after those sometimes!! & I still support your assertions despite him getting on base 7 straight times (I think) between yesterday & tonight. Who knows, these aberrations might indicate how much more effective he could be w/a bit more concentration/effort at the plate, just like we've suggested about his fielding & base-running! Oh yeah, looked at player stats after commenting earlier & not surprised to see Upchuck has hit into more DP's than any other Rays regular (12); next closest is Kotchman (8)!! Given his speed - at full tilt - this is perhaps more telling than any other stat :((


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