Nats continue to have interest in Upton

The Nationals continue to look for a center fielder, and B.J. Upton of the Rays is one of their targets, according to a baseball source.

Upton, a Virginia native and Ryan Zimmerman’s childhood friend, is considered an excellent defensive center fielder, but is having a down year at the plate, hitting .230 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs.

However, according to the source, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo believes a change of scenery would help Upton’s career.

Upton, 26, hasn’t had a good season with the bat since 2008, when he hit .273 with nine home runs and 67 RBIs for the Rays. It’s not known if the Nationals and Rays are having serious discussions about Upton.

It was reported last April that the Nationals had been scouting Upton, but the club didn’t have interest in acquiring him at that time. It was pointed out that it was routine scouting that is normally done during the season.

The Nationals haven’t received any production from their center fielders this season. Entering Sunday’s action, their center fielders are a combined 52-for-230 [.226] with two home runs, 16 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .291.

Washington has been looking for a center fielder for quite some time. The team had interest in other center fielders such as Michael Bourn of the Astros and Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. But the Nationals were never in serious discussions with those clubs.

21 Comments

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Hopefully Rizzo is right about Upton. It seems problematic at best. Rizzo has a penchant for choosing personnel that emphasize pitching and strong defense leaving the hitting to somehow take care of itself. His history of picking talent seems to suggest the same in this instance as well but one can certainly hope for something different in this case.

What is not so problematic is the continuing obsession with running Yunesky Maya out to start when he clearly has no talent for it. Seven straight times he has been sent out to start have resulted in seven straight losses in which each time he miserably failed to make it past the 4th inning. Enough already with this guy. Make him a reliever if you are so enchanted with him, but he ain’t a starter. The Washington Post reports that it was Riggleman’s decision to try and start Maya again on June 8th. I doubt it. This looks to have Godfather Rizzo fingerprints on it. Riggleman generally does an excellent of putting a lineup on the field that has the best chance to win. It does not add up that he would want to send a seven time loser out to fail again especially when they are in desperate need of victories to get them over the .500 mark. What’s that old joke, “I keep beating my head against that brick wall because it feels so good when I stop!” So stop already with the Maya nonesense. I guarantee you will feel good when you do.

I agree with your comments about Maya. Perhaps the best scenario is to send him back to Syracuse and if he does well call him in September in the hope that he will become an asset for the Nats or establish value for a trade.

As for Upton, I don’t think he’s having a down year so much as continuing a decline that started after the 07 season. I doubt he would be an upgrade over the current situation.

Riggleman does an excellent job of putting the best team on the field? They why does he start Rick Ankiel and sit Laynce Nix, the Nats best hitter. Have patience with Bernadina. It will be worth it. The combined average above is due to averaging Bernadina with Ankiel. Ridiculous. Ankiel can’t hit. Bernadina can. Simple as that. He might not be tearing it up but give him this year at least!

Nix has batted .189 against lefties in his career. He’s only gotten 198 plate appearances against lefties in his career as compared to 1386 plate appearances against righties. HE DOESN’T PLAY AGAINST LEFTIES. Ever. Period. It Doesn’t matter if Riggleman’s the manager or Dusty Baker or Joe Torre or Casey Stengel. Nix will not play against lefties.

Regarding Maya, the guy shuts people down the first time through the lineup so its obvious he’s got the stuff. That just means he needs to be worked with but I guess you guys don’t understand the concept of working with a player. You’re probably the same guys who were saying that Ian Desmond wasn’t a big league SS earlier in the year. Any time any player goes on a slide I feel like 3/4 of this fan base starts calling for his head. It’s very annoying

Frank, I agree with you 100%. It does not make sense to play Ankiel. Bernadina should definitely be given a chance. His number probably wont be too much different than Upton’s anyways. I don’t know about the intangibles. Nix is playing excellent and there is no reason for him not to be starting every game. Also, at this point, Morse should have the first base job. I don’t see why LaRoche should get it back when he gets healthy.

Trading for Upton would be a mistake. He has numerous on and off field run-ins with management/players, due to his periodic funks and lackadaisical play. Evan Longoria has had to get in his face on several occasions to try and hold him accountable. We went down this road with Tampa once before in signing Dukes. They will happily unload all thier malcontents to anyone willing to take them off thier hands. Please wisen-up and recognize clubhouse chemistry is crucial, and outweighs potential that is seldom realized.

I don’t think Ankiel should start either. It should be Nix in left, Bernadina in center, and Werth in right. Ankiel isn’t a bad bench player, but Bernadina and Nix should start in the outfield 90% of the time. I also agree that Morse should keep the job at 1B. Laroche sucked and Morse has taken advantage of the opportunity.

I wouldn’t mind trading for Upton, but I do think Bernadina can be a decent option if given a real chance.

Maybe the Nats can get a deal on Upton as damaged goods after this series.

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For the 2nd year running, Derek Norris is not impressing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is dealt in a package for offensive help. Rizzo needs to start winning soon, and I’m not so sure anymore that Norris is that impact kind of prospect.

Hey Frank,
I said I thought he “generally” does an excellent job picking the lineup. Obviously, he is not perfect. But I really like his style of baseball which is the in your face take the extra base, steal every chance you can, generally putting extra pressure on the opposing pitcher. He has also had to manage through losing his star player for quite awhile, nuture Ian Desmond away from being the error producing machine that he was and try to keep the club afloat when most of his players were hitting way below their career averages. He also, additionally, has to manage around Godfather Rizzo’s General Manager faux pas like Yunesky Maya. For a guy who is probably the lowest paid Manager in Baseball and who has been kept dangling at the end of a short term contract, I would say that he has done a pretty good job.

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It would be a waste of time, effort and resources for everyone involved in an Upton trade, both parties.

Seriously, if anything – go after TB’s young pitching. Try to swindle Alex Cobb away. Won’t happen, but pitching should be the direction you look (if anywhere). However unlikely, at least try to get good with some arms.

There is a reason why TB players are intriguing and that’s because they draft and draft and draft. They draft young talented players and develop them. So, if you want to end up with a team of young talented players – draft your ass off – like TB. Don’t trade resources away. Don’t waste resources on guys that won’t listen.

Rizzo, you want a 5-tool outfielder? – Then draft one. Say perhaps, B. Starling. You can do that tomorrow.

Develop your players. Give Bernie the best opportunity to succeed – he at least has defensive ability above all else. Likewise, maybe check out the career batting average of the guys you bring in (Ankiel) before claiming guys like Bernie don’t have a good bat. That doesn’t solve the bat problem – So, continue to develop Hood. And Harper will be around sooner than later, bruised knee not withstanding. And if you draft someone, eventually that outfield will get crowded.

But please, Rizzo, don’t blow away the limited few prospects that the nats have, for an immediate bat – especially one with an “switch” attitude.

Besides, Bourn is on a 1-year contract right now and he’s in his 6th full year in the majors – he might be available in the offseason. No need to give up prospects/resources when you don’t need to.

Getting Bourn would actually be an upgrade and it would be magnified if you didn’t have to give up the very few decent arms already in the farm system.

And anyway, there will be a few outfield bats tomorrow around #23 and #34.

– J. Bell
– Bradley jr.
– Goodwin
– Dickerson

Or, how about drafting some decent left handed pitchers for this organization?

– Purke
– C. Reed

It would be nice to get some additional young starting pitching alongside the upcoming and unknown B. Peacock.

Maybe Bobby Hansen turns into a stud lefty – who knows. Maybe AJ Cole turns into something, maybe not. But you got to draft your way to elite pitching, unless you have a storied franchise and can buy starting pitching.

I mean if Archie Bradley were not committed to play football at oklahoma, he’d be a great prospect. Another infamous oklahoma pitcher in Bundy, makes sense too.

The nats are not one player away from competing.

Riz – you want to be strong up the middle? – Then draft a stud SS. Say perhaps, F. Lindor – tomorrow.

You’d have to pass on Starling and the elite H.S. pitchers, however, elite SS are at a premium – there are a limited number of plus bats with plus fielding in this years draft, they’ll go early.

Or, develop and promote Antonelli to 2nd-base to go alongside Espi, who could move over to Short.

In short, Desmond is NOT the next Alan Trammell, counter to what Debbie Taylor told us yesterday, after her convo with your “special assistant” to the gm – B. Schaefer.

Seriously if you and Schaef actually believe that Danny E is the next Sweet Lou and Desmond is the next Trammell, then we as fans are in for far worse than what we already have.

I mean talk about hyperbole. Just, at least get Danny to bat for average – a little bit, before casting his Hall of Fame ballot.

Seriously, can’t a blogger get space in between his paragraphs?

– That just looks bunk.

Thanks bro

Don’t know where Mike Martinez from FIU is slated, but consideration for his bat should be noted. I wouldn’t mind him in the nats org.

In summation:

Lindor / Purke / Reed

or

Bundy / Mahtook / Beede

or

Starling / Purke / Cron

or

Jungmann / Mahtook / Reed

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