Tampa Bay Rays outfielder B.J. Upton has declined the team's qualifying offer, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The team made a one-year offer of $13.3 million, which entitles them to a compensatory draft pick when Upton signs with another club.
2012 saw Upton post a slash line of .246/.298/.454 for the season, not far from his career average .255/.336/.422. Increased aggression at the plate saw him collect a career-high 28 home runs, but it also gave him a career-high in strikeouts (169) and a career-low on base percentage.
Upton is reportedly in the hunt for a deal in the neighborhood of five years, $75 million. Rumors have surfaced suggesting that the Philadelphia Phillies are a possible destination, as they have both need of a center fielder and the money to meet what Upton is looking for. Steve Henderson was the Rays' hitting coach from 2006 to 2009, and he will serve the same role with Philadelphia next season.