Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Trade market for Tampa Bay Rays' B.J. Upton may be growing clear

OAKLAND, Calif. — B.J. Upton said Wednesday that his gut feeling is that he won't be traded by the Rays before Sunday's 4 p.m. deadline for nonwaiver deals.

"I think I'll be here," he said. "I don't think I'm going anywhere."

If so, it might be an upset, given a series of events over recent days that suggest a deal is in the works, topped by Upton being unexpectedly held out of the lineup on Wednesday night.

Or the result of an injury, as Upton told teammates he had been feeling tightness in his left quad. He spent several hours in the trainers room Wednesday afternoon, didn't come on the field for batting practice, and was in the trainers room again when the clubhouse opened after the game.

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged Upton was "a little beat up" but said there was nothing that would have prevented him from playing Wednesday and he will be in their lineup for today's matinee.

"Watching him move out there, I just think he needs a little bit of a break," Maddon said.

The market for Upton is being shaped as the result of several deals made Wednesday. Carlos Beltran, the top outfielder on the market, is set to go from the Mets to the Giants, and Colby Rasmus — whom the Rays reportedly offered Jeff Niemann, J.P. Howell and a prospect for — was shipped from St. Louis to Toronto as part of an 11-player, three-team deal.

The Nationals have long coveted Upton and are considered by some the leading candidate to acquire him. With the Giants out of the mix, the market for Upton would appear to include the Braves (who have an additional need to make a deal with catcher Brian McCann's bat out of their lineup for a while due to injury), the Indians (who were reportedly shunned by Beltran), the Nationals (whom the Rays have been scouting closely) and the Pirates, along with the Phillies and Reds.

There was no deal in place as of the end of Wednesday's game, and Upton said he was not aware anything was close: "There's nothing going on.''

Maddon said there had been a lot of talks on a lot of different possibilities, and "I really don't know how this is all going to shake out.'' He also said he would "love" for Upton, who is hitting .227 with 15 homers and 53 RBIs, to stick around.

But there was plenty of circumstantial evidence, starting with the decision to hold Upton out of the lineup, that a deal could be close. Also, that the Nationals held out two of their young players — shortstop Ian Desmond and catcher Wilson Ramos — who would be the type of players the Rays could want back in a deal. The Pirates pulled one of their top prospects, outfielder Starling Marte, from his game. And the reported offer for Rasmus would indicate the Rays were seeking a replacement for Upton.

Maddon insisted it was just a matter of wanting to give the 26-year-old a break (and to get playing time for Sam Fuld) and that Upton — who was also out of the lineup on Sunday — would play today. "I've just been looking for moments to give B.J. a little bit of a rest, get him off his feet," Maddon said. "He's been going after it pretty hard."

Upton said it was Maddon's decision and that he felt fine.

Maddon acknowledged the potential impact the rumors have had, as Upton was hitting .079 (3-for-38) over his past nine games: "I know all these different things that are being swirled about have got to have some kind of an impact on him, too.''

Upton said he had stopped paying attention to the possibilities and didn't even know of the Beltran deal until he got to the stadium. "I'm not looking at what teams and what they're doing, it's got nothing to do with me,'' he said. "It's to the point now there's so many teams and so many rumors I don't even worry about it."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the Rays offered a package of Niemann, Howell and an unnamed prospect for Rasmus, but the Cards wanted Jeremy Hellickson or James Shields, whom the Reds reportedly remain interested in. ESPN's Buster Olney reported the Rays offered the choice of Niemann, Wade Davis or rookie Alex Cobb.

Trade market for Tampa Bay Rays' B.J. Upton may be growing clear 07/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, July 28, 2011 2:26am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ryan Callahan encouraged by his return

    Blogs

    Captain Steven Stamkos wasn't the only key Lightning player to make a triumphant return Friday night against Nashville.

  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.

  3. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  5. Ww's Odessabeach makes run at Husker Magic stakes final

    Parimutuels

    ST. PETERSBURG — When Hurricane Irma blew through Florida earlier this month, Ww's Odessabeach remained in her comfort zone.