Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Could Justin Upton replace brother B.J. on Rays?

As B.J. Upton, right, likely heads out of Tampa Bay, the Rays could be interested in getting Arizona’s Justin Upton.

DIRK SHADD | Times (2010)

As B.J. Upton, right, likely heads out of Tampa Bay, the Rays could be interested in getting Arizona’s Justin Upton.

The Rays prefer not to say much about their plans, considering it a competitive disadvantage to reveal things such as their projected payroll, priorities for filling positions and, most certainly, their primary targets.

But one thing executive VP Andrew Friedman did say after returning from the GM meetings was they may be aggressive early this offseason rather than waiting, as has been their pattern.

"We had a very productive week of dialogue on a number of different fronts," he said. "I'm sure our approach this offseason will be some combination of trades and free agent signings. We are working through what that ratio will be and which moves make the most sense to attempt to do on the front end of the winter as opposed to late."

One scenario that emerged from the meetings was acquiring OF Justin Upton, the younger brother of departing free agent B.J., from Arizona. It remains to be seen if they can match up given the Diamondbacks' primary desire for a top young shortstop, as the best the Rays could offer is prospect Hak-Ju Lee.

But the Rays do have starting pitching to spare.

And as much as it might pain them — especially with the AL East looking quite winnable — to trade James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson, in a free agent market that thins quickly after Zack Greinke, and in which Anibal Sanchez is seeking $90 million over six years, they should certainly have the opportunity to get the big bat(s) they need.

The strategic question for Friedman and staff is whether they can get more by being pre-emptive and strike a deal with a team not wanting to be forced to overpay or get shut out, or in waiting for the teams that do miss out on the top free agents in what looks like will be a lucrative sellers' market. (More proof? All nine players, including B.J. Upton, given one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offers declined.)

Free agency could work the other way. While the Rays were quick to re-sign RHP Joel Peralta, and plan talks with RHP Kyle Farnsworth and LHP J.P. Howell, they seem even more likely to have to wait to see who ends up available and willing to take less in return for playing time.

PROSPECTING: RHP Chris Archer logically tops Baseball America's ranking of the Rays' top 10 prospects, though there are surprises: 2011 top pick RHP Taylor Guerrieri at No. 2, 2012 top pick 2B Richie Shaffer No. 5, unheralded LHP Blake Snell No. 7. Otherwise, Lee is No. 3, RHP Alex Colome 4, LHP Enny Romero 6, INF Tim Beckham 8, INF Derek Dietrich 9, OF Drew Vettleson 10. … Guerrieri was named the Topps short-season Class A New York-Penn League player of the year.

ALUMNI NEWS: Retired INF Aaron Ledesma and his wife opened the Yoga 365 studio in Clearwater on Saturday; see … OF Matt Diaz, who has interest in returning, hosts ex-teammates in a charity golf event Monday in Lakeland benefiting the Florida Guardian ad Litem program, helping orphaned and disadvantaged children. See … INF Brooks Conrad is signing with Japan's Hanshin Tigers.

RAYS RUMBLINGS: Ticket prices are set to be released this week and are said to be in line with 2012 with "minor adjustments." … Peralta, whose two-year, $6 million deal should be official this week, said the Rays don't want him playing in winter ball or the World Baseball Classic. … Ex-Ray Johnny Damon is in the WBC, playing for Thailand (his mother is from there). … The AL Cy Young Award announcement is set for 6:17 p.m. Wednesday on MLB Network. LHP David Price a finalist. … INF Jeff Keppinger's suitors are expected to include the D'backs. … Tweet of the week, from Julianna Zobrist: "To WalMart for fake wedding bands … don't want to be nervous about losing the one Ben gave me while Jet Skiing!!"

.fast facts

Award schedule

Monday: AL and NL rookies of the year

Tuesday: AL and NL managers of the year

Wednesday: AL and NL Cy Young Award winners

Thursday: AL and NL most valuable players

Could Justin Upton replace brother B.J. on Rays? 11/10/12 [Last modified: Saturday, November 10, 2012 9:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.