Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WB2PB Trade Deadline Evaluation: B.J. Upton

 Over the next nine days, we will take a look at one player who is in the rumor mill to join the Pirates leading up to the trade deadline. Today's installment is Tampa Bay Rays outfielder B.J. Upton

The batting order with the addition of Upton: 
1. Presley/Tabata/Paul, LF;  2. Upton, RF; 3. Walker, 2B;  4. McCutchen, CF;  5. Alvarez, 3B; 6. Doumit, C; 7. Overbay/Pearce, 1B; 8. Cedeno, SS; 9. pitcher.

  • Upton has incredible potential. He can hit for power, run on the bases and has excellent range in the outfield because of that speed.
  • Has playoff experience from the Rays' playoff runs in 2008 and 2010
  • Would fill a need for a right-handed bat with some pop, sporting 11 HRs against RHP this year
  • Pirates would have him for all of 2012 as he is not eligible for free agency until 2013. Poor start to 2011 make it likely his arbitration price should be around $5 million.
  • Hits very well away from the Rays' home field, posting a .278 batting average on the road this year and .262 for his career.
  • Upton's power numbers are up but his batting average and on-base percentage are down this year.
  • Not known as a team guy with Tampa Bay. He has worn on his welcome in Tampa and the Pirates are not looking to acquire anyone who will mess with their team chemistry.
The great thing about Upton is that he's a great physical baseball player. And the bad thing about him is that he knows that. Upton, who should have been drafted, developed and be on the Pirates roster today as the No. 1 pick in the 2002 MLB draft, just might be the hitter the Pirates need on the field. Again, Upton doesn't solve the problem of 1st base but that appears to be a difficult nut to crack as there are a few teams (S.F., Ariz) who could use one as well and the most likely candidate for trade (Carlos Pena) appears to be the only one being talked about on the trade market.

It's also hard to say where Upton would bat. I put him second but I'd really like to return McCutchen to the top spot, move whomever the leftfielder is to the No. 2 spot and bat Upton cleanup. Upton hits .275 lifetime at the cleanup spot and he surely would be looking to up his numbers for his next contract. Plenty of incentive Not sure this will be one the Pirates pull the trigger on. Not sure if they are going to pull a trigger at all.

Likely chance of acquisition: 15 percent


  1. Return McCutchen to the top spot? You must be out of your mind!

  2. That said, I would love to see the acquisition of Upton. Actually, I'd love to see any acquisition at this point. Their offense is anemic, and I will bet you dollars to donuts that--if they stay pat--they will not even finish .500 this year. That would be a travesty for Pirates fans everywhere.