*All stats are as of 6/15/11 before the day's games.
Trade speculation, whether grounded in realism or thought up from the ether of a sleeper's dreamscape, is always fun to talk about.
And trade speculation, sometimes dubbed a sweepstakes even, is building around sometimes troubled but immensely talented Rays outfielder BJ Upton.
A player with immense value in terms of his potential, but with major drawbacks due to his production, Upton is perfect trade bait. You take a risk, maybe, but some of the time you'll be rewarded because for every four-strikeout, petulant-Upton game, you'll get a great-diving-catch, two-homer/two-steal Upton game.
For a guy batting .213 this year with a bad .299 OBP and 65 K's (compared to only 28 BBs), the term All-Star still applies. That's what Upton has inside of him but chooses not to show.
So while he may seem like the last person anyone would want, he is, ironically, someone a lot of people would love. He's got upside, as those Prospectus fellows would say, and people love upside, even if it only exists in faith and not in the tangible world.
It's not like Upton hasn't shown brilliance before, and the lifetime Ray still offers a lot to Tampa. But the patience is getting thin, and it may be time to cash in on the aura of Upton before the actuality of Upton hits the buyers.
Here is my look at what teams may want to grab Upton and what they'd be willing to give up.
*I'm looking at the major parts of the trade here. All (or most) baseball trades come with numerous ancillary bench players, prospects or draft picks. Here I'll be looking at the MAJOR piece the Rays may or might go after or the other team may or might give up in return.
Also, I'm simply going off of my own interpretations of what the Rays need and what other teams need and what they have to offer. This is not based on any word of mouth or rumors going on in the market.