BJ Upton: Why Atlanta Braves Should Not Gamble on Volatile Outfielder
The Tampa Bay Rays have had a rough 2011. All-Star outfielder Carl Crawford left for the Boston Red Sox and home run threat Carlos Pena departed for the Chicago Cubs. Long story short, the two guys who protected Evan Longoria in the lineup are now gone and the team is in third place in the AL East.
Save for Longoria, the Rays' top power bat in the lineup has been outfielder BJ Upton. The 26-year-old has proven to be a home run threat and has great speed to go with it, and his arm in the outfield isn't bad either. Yet, his impatience at the plate is a major issue as he is batting just .228 this season with a .310 OBP.
Still, despite his flaws, Upton has been brought up in various trade talks, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark. While some may think it's crazy that the Rays would trade him, I can understand why.
As much talent as Upton has, he also has a major attitude problem. He argues with umpires regularly, clashes with his coaches and just displays a surly disposition in general. The Atlanta Braves reportedly have him on their radar, but Upton is the last thing that team needs.
The Braves' greatest need is in the outfield, but there are many outfielders available who are far better than Upton. He is the kind of player who always tries to murder the ball instead of trying to get on base, and the team needs a patient hitter who can be a mentor to the younger players.
On top of that, Upton would be a clubhouse cancer in Atlanta. Keep in mind, he wouldn't be a rental player. He is under contract for two more seasons and if he underachieves with the Braves, he could prove very hard to move.
That all being said, as attractive as Upton's talents may seem, he isn't worth trading prospects to get. His attitude is a big risk and with what he brings to a team, he'll either be big hit or a giant whiff. Given the Braves' place in the Wild Card standings, he is a risk they cannot afford to take.
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