Over the last couple days, there have been lots of rumors swirling about B.J. Upton. When Desmond Jennings was promoted a few days ago, there was a Twitter storm of people anticipating that Upton had been traded, but that was just the prelude to the storm; since that time, the rumors surrounding Upton have intensified ten fold.
The most recent rumors surrounding Upton were tweeted last night by Ken Rosenthal. The word on the street is that Upton is becoming an alternative option for teams that are considering trading for Carlos Beltran. While Beltran is the better player currently, Upton is under team control for longer and would potentially be able to bring back a compensation draft pick once he hits free agency after 2012. By comparison, if a team traded for Carlos Beltran right now, they would receive nothing except two months of a great outfielder.
There have been multiple teams listed as interested in Upton, but a few names are sticking out from the rest: the Giants, Nationals, Braves, and Phillies are all being tossed around liberally. Of course, with the Rays’ track record, Upton will likely get traded to a team that no one expected.
As far as Upton’s trade value, here’s what I had to say about it over at DRaysBay recently:
So as tempting as it is to want and believe this is some new, improved version of Upton, it’s not – we’re seeing a very, very similar player to what we saw last season. Upton’s still very valuable, but it’s likely that another team will overvalue him due to his homerun power this year. He’s a valuable trade chip as it is, so if the Rays can get some team to overpay for him, they’d be silly not to go for it. Upton’s trade value is probably at its very peak right now – let’s take advantage.
Upton is the Rays’ biggest trade chip outside of James Shields (who they seem loathe to trade), and he should bring back a large package. The Rays will probably try to milk Upton for his full worth, waiting for Beltran to be off the table first to increase demand, so we could be in for a bit of a wait.