5 Ways the Philadelphia Phillies Could Land B.J. Upton
They'll need to get healthy in the offseason and add a game-changing bat in the middle of the lineup. No, his name isn't Josh Hamilton.
It is B.J. Upton.
He was recently tendered a one-year qualifying offer by the Tampa Bay Rays, so the Phillies would have to give up their first-round pick in order to sign him.
After the Phillies were able to assemble their whole team, they were able to finish 35-24.
With Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins all recovering from injuries, and the dominant pitching staff still intact, the Phillies have a chance to make the postseason again in 2013.
All they'll need is the defensive and offensive capabilities of B.J. Upton.
In 2012, he hit 28 homers and stole 31 bases. His OBP was a bit low at .298, but he hadn't had a season below .300 before this one.
To put it in perspective, John Mayberry Jr.—the starter for Philadelphia down the stretch—hit 14 homers and slugged only .395.
Not to mention he doesn't have nearly the same range Upton does.
It won't be easy luring one of the top outfielders in the free-agent market, but here are five ways the Phillies can land him instead of Angel Pagan, Michael Bourn and Josh Hamilton.
The Phillies recently hired the Rays' special assignment scout along with the hitting coach of their minor league team who held the same position in Tampa, in order to bolster their farm system and hitting.
However, this may not be the only thing that they are bolstering.
By hiring away some of the Rays ex-assistants, they stand a bigger chance to land Upton.
Since Upton already knows both Bart Braun and Steve Henderson, he may feel more comfortable coming to Philadelphia.
Upton's agent Larry Reynolds also was sourced as someone that was talking to Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro Jr, according to CSN Philly.
Put all this together and the deal for Upton as the new Phillies center fielder may be starting to take shape.
Money Not an Issue
With the Phillies rumored by CBS Sports to be looking at hitters like Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn and B.J. Upton at the same time, it would appear that they aren't worried about the amount of money it takes.
Although it may be prudent to spend more money and years on Upton than Hamilton, the Phillies may go in that direction anyways because of Hamilton's history of success on the field.
If the Phillies view Hamilton as a fallback option, they assuredly don't care how much they are paying for Upton.
Look for the Phillies to engage in a bidding war and ultimately win it.
Process of Elimination
There are many options for the Phillies in the outfield. From Angel Pagan, Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton and B.J. Upton, they'd just need to pick up one in order to take another step towards the postseason.
Right now, it looks like the Phillies are favorites to sign B.J. Upton.
As for B.J. Upton, some people involved say he could take more recruiting trips before deciding. For now, Phillies could be favorite.— DKnobler (@DKnobler) November 19, 2012
It's unlikely that Josh Hamilton will head to Philadelphia where he might not be comfortable with the fans, especially with his off-field issues. It also appears the Milwaukee Brewers are leaders of that bidding war according to ESPN.
It looks like it'll come down to Michael Bourn and B.J. Upton, and since the Phillies are the favorites to pick up the uber-talented power-hitting outfielder, they may choose to go that way.
It seems like there are a lot of options, but the Phillies are really only in play for one name.
Track Record of Success
As I said before, the Phillies have a track record of making the playoffs, especially in the past decade.
Even though Ryan Howard isn't the hitter he used to be and the lineup is getting old, the pitching is still there to get them to the postseason.
When the Phillies got their lineup together, they recovered nicely to finish 81-81.
Next season, the Washington Nationals will be favored yet again along with the Atlanta Braves but there's no reason to think that the Phillies won't be there.
Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are still there to anchor the pitching staff.
Any lineup with Howard, Utley, Rollins, Dominic Brown (assuming the one-time top prospect pans out) can still strike fear into opposing pitchers.
The fact they played so well down the stretch against the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals—who were battling for playoff position—bodes well for the 2013 season.
B.J. Upton should have no trouble adopting to the hitter's park known as Citizens Bank Park.
Future Face of the Franchise
Even though there are stars aplenty on the Phillies' roster, they are mostly in their 30s.
Upton is 28 and still tapping into his potential.
The Phillies can sell him on the fact that he will become their face of the franchise in a year or two when players like Howard and Utley start to fade.
In Atlanta, he'd have to compete with Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman.
Milwaukee Brewers have Ryan Braun.
The Washington Nationals—who have also shown interest—have Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg.
Not only would Upton have a chance to win immediately in Philly, he would become the star player as soon as 2014.