Hunter Pence was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies from the Houston Astros Thursday night making it crunch time for teams to trade for B.J. Upton. Phones should be ringing to make their best offer to Andrew Friedman for the Tampa Bay Rays center fielder.
The move the Phillies made for the All-Star right fielder is sure to send GMs from other teams re-assessing their teams needs to remain competitive this season as well as into the future. If defense at center field is the final piece to the puzzle that a team is missing, Upton is the best player to get.
Yes, he leaves something to be desired at the plate. However, once he gets on base he is a base stealing threat. The argument can also be made that with the Rays lineup there aren't any hitters to fear. On a team with more bats he may perform better with less pressure.
What he lacks in offense he makes up with his glove. There are few if any available center fielders that have the speed and arm strength that Upton possesses.
Here are 4 teams that need to put a package together for B.J. Upton
Jamal Wilburg is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.
You can follow him on Twitter @JWilburg
The Atlanta Braves need help at the center field position in order to continue their progress towards the postseason. They are currently five games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East.
With the Phillies acquiring Hunter Pence and the Braves having to place their center fielder Jordan Schafer on the disabled list, the team needs to make a move. They are holding onto a four game lead over Arizona in the wild card race but that could easily fade.
B.J. Upton would be a smart addition for the Braves if the team can come up with enough to send the Tampa Bay Rays in return. Possible prospects the Rays could be interested could include short stop Tyler Pastornicky and catcher Christian Bethancourt.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are currently two and a half games back in the NL Central and six games out of the wild card spot. They are hurting in the outfield after placing Jose Tabata and Alex Presley on the disabled list.
B.J. Upton would provide an insurance policy and depth for the team to finish strong this season. There may not be a place for Upton to start once Tabata and Presley return, but he may be enough to get the team over the hump without having to rush them back into the lineup.
Some of the Pirates prospects that the Tampa Bay Rays could be interested in include catcher Tony Sanchez, outfielder Sterling Marte, and pitcher Bryan Morris.
Although the Cincinnati Reds are going to be on the outside looking in this postseason, they may be in the market for B.J. Upton.
The Reds have a void to fill in the outfield after trading Jonny Gomes to the Washington Nationals. Upton could be the replacement for Gomes in the outfield as the team begins to prepare its roster for 2012 and beyond.
One Reds player that the Tampa Bay Rays could be interested in is Yonder Alonso. Alonso can play either first base or in the outfield, and he finished 2010 in the minors hitting .335/.415/.561. He was hitting .374/.486/.860 in the minors this season prior to being called up to fill the roster spot made vacant after the Gomes trade.
The Reds also have a few prospects that the Rays could be interested in including catcher Devin Mesoraco, second baseman Billy Hamilton, catcher Yasmani Grandal, and shortstop Zack Cozart.
The Washington Nationals have been the most consistent team brought up in B.J. Upton trade rumors. Wednesday night, the stars seemed to be aligned for a trade as Upton was absent in the Tampa Bay Rays lineup and shortstop Ian Desmond was not in the Nationals lineup.
It seemed suspicious for Upton to have a second day off in four games, but the night passed and it was said that no deal was in place.
Even though the Nationals eventually traded two prospects to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Jonny Gomes, they could still be looking to add Upton.
The Rays may also be interested in catcher Wilson Ramos.