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B.J. Upton set to decline qualifying offer



CF B.J. Upton is set to decline the Rays' one-year, $13.3-million qualifying offer by Friday's 5 p.m. deadline and head into free agency seeking a big bucks deal elsewhere.

The decision was expected, though word of the Rays' potential interest in acquiring OF Justin Upton from Arizona in trade could have provided cause for pause as the brothers have talked often of playing together. But it's clear that the Rays couldn't afford to have both of them, so that wasn't going to happen with them now.

The Rays can now decide if they want to purse a deal for Justin Upton, who is 25, had a career .832 OPS and $38.5-million over three years left on his contract. A number of other teams, including the Tigers, Rangers and Red Sox, have been mentioned as being interested. The D-backs are looking for either a front-line shortstop or a top starter, which would probably lead to discussions about RHP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP James Shields or even LHP David Price.

With B.J. Upton declining, the Rays will get a compensatory draft pick at the end of the first round of the 2013 draft. Upton is seeking a deal of around five years and $15-million a season, with the Phillies and Nats considered the most likely landing spots.



[Last modified: Thursday, November 8, 2012 9:32pm]


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