Saturday November 3rd, 2012
Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer): Both B.J. Upton and his younger brother Justin will be available this offseason. Bossman Junior (B.J.) will be a top centerfield free agent option, and Justin signed a lucrative 6-year deal just two years ago, is widely known to be on the trading block from Arizona. The Upton brothers are the two highest drafted brothers in sports history. B.J. was a second overall pick in 2002 and Justin, the first overall pick of the 2005 draft. They have both had ups and downs in their young careers, but both have performed extremely well and shown glimpses of brilliance. Justin has already cashed in on his first big major league contract, and B.J. is looking to so this offseason. Where B.J. will sign, we will find out over the next months. But one thing that is clear…he makes since for just about any team out there.
The Philadelphia Phillies are one of those teams that could envision B.J. Upton gracefully patrolling centerfield for 162 games. As a premier center fielder facing free agency, B.J. as become far too expensive a commodity for the Rays to retain going forward. He plays top-notch defense in centerfield and has a cannon for an arm. All he did in 2012 as 27-year-old (in his 8th year in the MLB) was hit 29 doubles, 28 home runs and steal 31 bags. Yes, with this amazing tool set that combines defense with speed and power comes a lifetime .255 batting average and about 150 strikeouts a year. There are weaknesses in every player’s game, but B.J. Upton’s strengths make him a very attractive target for any team that doesn’t have Joe DiMaggio manning centerfield.
There is no doubt that B.J.’s speed and power will fit very nicely into the Phillies lineup along with Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard. We have to also consider what it is going to take to get B.J. signed to a contract. Right now, we know that the Tampa Bay Rays have offered B.J. a qualifying offer. While the chances of B.J. agreeing to this are virtually ‘zero’, it does mean that whoever signs B.J. is going to have to sacrifice their first round draft pick next year to Tampa. For a team like Philadelphia that can afford to sign top free agents, giving up a top prospect is an acceptable part of doing business. Read the rest of this entry