Tampa Bay Rays

Just Say No, BJ Upton

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 11:  B.J. Upton #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays bats against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheimon August 11, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Josh LevittSenior Analyst IJanuary 25, 2010

 A long term deal for BJ Upton? Doesn't seem out of the question:

#Rays CF B.J. Upton says arbitration won't be a problem and he is "all for" discussing long-term deal

I'm all for long term security and I think it's great that Upton wants to commit to the Rays long term.

However, from his economic perspective, now is not the right time to discuss an extension. The reason? Upton is coming off a down season offensively in which he only hit .241 with 11 home runs.

The general perception around baseball is that Upton has far more talent than that, but he has yet to truly put it all together (even though his 2007 season was very, very good).

A long term contract for Upton would be in the Rays' best interests because it would keep Upton's salary under control for the foreseeable future and lock up one of their most promising talents. Even though Upton is under team control through the 2013 season, the reality is that Upton is one big season away from a huge pay raise thanks to arbitration.

It would be beneficial for the Rays to sign Upton long term now because his value at its lowest point, which means that Upton's price will be lower now than it was in 2008 and probably lower than it will be after the 2010 season.

If Upton is only concerned about long term security, then it would make sense for him to sign a deal now. But if he is interested in maximizing his earning potential, then it's in his best interests not to sign a deal now, play the market out year to year, and put together a big season that puts him back on the map as one of the game's most exciting young players.

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