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Rumor: Tampa Bay Rays Unlikely To Trade B.J. Upton

B.J. Upton has been a subject of trade speculation for the past two seasons, but the Tampa Bay Rays have yet to part with him. Many people thought that this past season would be Upton’s last in a Rays uniform — not going to lie, I was one of them — but it’s appearing more and more likely that the Rays will hold onto Upton for one more season.

The Rays have weighed trade conversations about B.J. Upton, but the bottom line is that whatever Tampa Bay received in return for Upton probably wouldn’t approach the value of what he provides — in defense, in offense. (Buster Olney, ESPN)

I rarely say this about Olney, but his logic makes sense here. Upton is entering his final year of team control, meaning he’ll be a free agent after this season, so teams won’t be willing to give the Rays much in return for him. Meanwhile, Upton is a valuable offensive and defensive player, and his presence makes the 2012 Rays better.

If the Rays hold onto Upton through the full 2012 season, they will likely receive some draft pick compensation for him when he departs in free agency. Under the new CBA, the Rays merely need to offer Upton a one year, $12 million salary for 2013; if Upton declines it (which he likely will, considering the amount he could get on the open market), then the Rays would receive compensation draft picks in the 2013 draft.

So for once, B.J. Upton may be able to get through an entire season in Tampa Bay without trade rumors popping up every other game. Then again, considering the persistent (and sometimes mindless) nature of rumors, I’m not holding my breath.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.