UPDATED: Upton makes it official, declines offer
UPDATE, 8:26: Upton made it sound a bit more like goodbye: “I’m looking forward to exploring the free agent process and seeing what happens. This decision doesn’t necessarily close the door on the Rays, but now it’s time to focus on the next phase of my career.’’
UPDATE, 7:45: Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said: "This decision doesn't preclude us from continuing our dialogue with B.J. All it does is ensure that we receive something of value if B.J. signs elsewhere.''
BREAKING: CF B.J. Upton's agent, Larry Reynolds, notified the Rays this afternoon that he is officially declining the one-year, $13.3-million qualifying offer.
"At this point, we just feel it's time to explore the free-agent process, and that's what we'll do," Reynolds said.
The Rays will get a compensatory draft pick when Upton signs elsewhere.
Upton is seeking a big bucks deal, in the area of $75-million over 5 years.