Poll: Should B.J. Upton Get A Qualifying Offer?

B.J. Upton is in line for a multiyear contract when he hits free agency this winter, and it's not easy to envision a return to Tampa Bay. The Rays habitually operate with one of the game's lowest payrolls, which means they don’t do much of their spending on the top free agents available. 

Upton, who earns $7MM this year, will obtain a raise on his next contract. Recent estimates from general managers range from $27MM over three years to $70MM over five years, according to Jerry Crasnick. If that's Upton's market value, it's hard to see the Rays winning the bidding. After all, their best-paid player, James Shields, earns a base salary of $7.5MM in 2012.

But executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman can still extend Upton a qualifying offer. Unless the Rays make Upton a qualifying offer they won’t be eligible to obtain draft pick compensation for their longtime center fielder. If they do make him an offer, he’d either accept the one-year contract or the Rays would get a draft pick in 2013. 

While $13MM-plus — the value of a qualifying offer — is likely more than a small-market team would like to spend on Upton, he’d have trade value at that salary. The Rays, who once acquired Rafael Soriano after he unexpectedly accepted arbitration, could make a similar deal involving Upton. 

From Upton’s standpoint, the open market might be preferable to a one-year qualifying offer. He figures to get multiyear contract offers, even if he’s tied to draft pick compensation in a market flush with strong alternatives in center field. So the most likely scenario has Upton declining the qualifying offer and setting his former team up for draft pick compensation. It’s a risk, but one the Rays might be willing to take. What should they do?

22 Responses to Poll: Should B.J. Upton Get A Qualifying Offer? Leave a Reply

  1. he’s too cocky id like to see him leave if we get draft pick for him. I think desmond taking over and brandon guyer getting fulltime playing time in the majors can replace uptons streakiness and undependability in the clutch

    • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

      he’s literally been one of the best starting center fielders in baseball the last 3 years.

      I’m not sure why he gets such a bad rep, but he’s a good baseball player and better than 20 or more starting center fielders in the league

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        Watch him and you will see.

        He deserved 2 errors in one inning vs NY over the weekend, but got -0- and both were from lack of concentration. 1st was moving the wrong way on defense that turned an out into a double and the 2nd was him charging the ball (if that is what one would call that attempt of his) and booting the ball 5 feet in front of him.

        A “kind” NY scorekeeper ruled the 1st blunder a double and the 2nd they gave the hitter the RBI with the runner he allowed to reach 2nd to score anyway.

        Upton just isn’t the player many think he is. he does not hit and his defense is NOT what people think it is.

        • LazerTown 3 years ago

          He really should have caught that “double”. He was right there. He really has turned into a not good hitter. I really don’t think that it is as easy as many are making it out to be. If it was the Yankees sure, but their payroll is $64M, and that would be a $6M raise for Upton. His obp is below .300, and his ops is now only .739. I think that he is best taking this offer if it comes up, I really have a hard time seeing him getting more money per year than that.

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

            He made those 2 on a game widely seen. many other lack of concentration plays can be seen by Upton for MLB,com subscribers and local media. The guy just isn’t worth 13m when you question their hustle and drive.

            A’s fans earlier this year were questioning Crisp’s salary and the paltry 6m he was owed in 2012 and 7m in 2013.. Well.. Crisp does not have mental lapses in his game, steals those same bases, plays at LEAST as good of a defense as upton ever dreamed of. Only advantage to Upton would be his throwing arm and occasional power.

            Crisp anyday over a player you have to wonder if their head is going to be in the game from play to play.

          • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

            the rays are not using OPS

  2. melonis_rex 3 years ago


    Worst case scenario is BJ Upton accepts. If he accepts, the Rays should easily be able to trade him to another team (even if they get back nothing in return). Lots of teams should take BJ Upton on a 1 year/13MM deal to play CF.

    The risk is near-zero (gain nothing, lose nothing), and the reward is significant (comp draft pick).

    • Kevin Swords 3 years ago

      I completely agree, this is almost a no-brainer. Also significant is the slotted money tied to the additional pick, teams value this highly–maybe even more than the pick itself, as it gives them greater financial flexibility in the draft.

    • Mr Awesome 3 years ago

      tampa’s highest paid player right now is shields at 8mm. i think last year it was damon at 7mm. tampa has only offered between 7-8mm to free agents for a one year deal (pena for example). tampa will rather sign someone older than 33 (unless they have a player at the bench, in the minors, or trade for someone).

      he is not worth the 7mm he is making right now.

    • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

      If a lot of teams would take BJ Upton on 1 /13 deal to play CF.. why would he accept?

      • Karkat 3 years ago

        That’s why it’s a safe offer to make, I think was the point. Really, he won’t accept because he’ll be able to get a multiyear deal elsewhere, and even for a lower AAV that’s almost always worth it.

        • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

          yah i just don’t see any way he would accept it seems like a no brainer to me

        • LazerTown 3 years ago

          I don’t think it is quite a no-brainer. The rays cannot afford to gamble with money, and their payroll is already $64M. That would be a $6M raise for upton, and he would be nuts not to accept it. If he wants a significant contract I really think he is going to be surprised by the market out there. Aside from Texas, Philly, and Atlanta I really don’t see much of a market for him if he is going to be in the $10M+ aav range. Hamilton is a good shot to return to Texas, and Bourn will still have a higher value on the market. I really don’t see how you can look past that ugly obp, and it’s not that he is unlucky, he strikes out all the time.

  3. ChefR 3 years ago

    some owners are foolish enough to give him that kind of money.

  4. Mr Awesome 3 years ago

    i voted “yes”, because tampa should re-sign him; however, we know that tampa doesn’t re-sign players.

  5. escapingNihilism 3 years ago

    how is this only 2:1 yes? Melky Cabrera is the better question

  6. notsureifsrs 3 years ago

    one of the easiest decisions they’ll make this offseason

  7. Casey McMahon 3 years ago

    This is a the same type of Scenario that Gary Sheffield had with the Yanks except without the injuries and it is not a Option.

    They should make the offer. If he accepts consider trading him for a younger more affordable players. Move Desmond Jennings to CF , Sam Fuld in LF and Matt Joyce in RF.

    • LazerTown 3 years ago

      Not quite. Sheffield was still a 35 HR .400 OBP type guy. HIs option was for somewhere between $11 and $14M I believe. Even in free agency he could easily get that type of money, not even close for upton.

  8. rjc 3 years ago

    make the offer, get the draft pick and then let him walk when he doesn’t accept. we can plug in Fuld/Guyer in left and move Jennings to center. hopefully Jennings will come up with more power next year to make up for BJ leaving. we really need to focus on getting a quality catcher that can actually hit and re-sign Keppinger to play first base. say goodbye to Pena and Scott who have not been worth the 12 million they are making. give ryan roberts a full season to see if he can do what he did in 2011 and trade a picher (Nieman/Cobb) to get Alfonso Soriano (and about $30 million in salary relief) from the Cubs for DH. there you go Andrew, make it happen as it looks like we are almost ready to start planning for next year.

  9. PWNdroia 3 years ago

    If the Rays stick to their smart spending, they’ll let him walk.

  10. LazerTown 3 years ago

    I really think that is an overpay. Upton has become tremendously overrated.

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