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.