FanPost

Rosterbation: Should we sign B.J. Upton or not?

The other Rosterbation thread closed, so I thought I would start up a new one. Reports are that B.J. Upton met with Braves officials during the week and met with the Phillies also. It's been reported that he is the Braves number 1 FA target at the moment. I have heard both arguments for signing him or not. I personally don't believe we should offer up 5-7 years at $13-16 million per year to sign him. We would also have to give up a 1st round pick as well. I'd rather keep that pick and the comp pick from Bourn. Some said Braves won't go more than 5 years for him, if so then Braves likely won't acquire him, because I see multiple teams offering him 6 or 7 years. I believe he will also get $13-16 million per year as well.I don't believe he'd be worth it, but I'm sure somebody will give it to him.

His 2007 and 2008 seasons were great, but we aren't signing him for what he did back then. B.J. Upton's value comes directly from homers, stolen bases and above average defense (I won't say it's great like some say because I don't believe that). I don't think he will have as low as .298 OBP next year, but not sure if he is going to have a .331 OBP either, probably more of .310-.320 OBP, if so not too bad, depending on his other stats.

Usually power hitters that hit a ton of homers have a fairly high OPS, not a .752 OPS. When you hit the amount of homers that Upton hit this past season, it shows overall how bad he was, obviously with a awful OBP, which helps calculate OPS. You can look around the league, you won't find a ton of players that you'd want to pay 5-7 years at $13-16 million for guys that hit 25 or more homers with a OPS lower than .752. Last 4 years OPS for Upton was:

2009: .686

2010: .745

2011: .759

2012: .752

2009 he didn't hit many homers and didn't have much of an OBP, so that season was just bad. 2010 he hit 18 homers, 2011 he hit 23 homers and 2012 he hit a career high 28 homers, which we witnessed his 2nd worst season in his MLB career. When you hit 28 homers, you better damn well have a much better OPS than .752. There is a reason that power hitters(which looks like Upton wants to be now) have good OPS or otherwise they didn't do enough to be all that valuable to get a ton of money. Bourn and players like him aren't going to normally have high OPS unless they have a ridiculous OBP and hit at least around 10 homers, but players like Bourn are not going to have high OPS. Doesn't mean they are less valuable, I think they are more valuable than a player like B.J. Upton, those homers carry a lot of weight with the OPS. For him to have less than a .800 OPS just wasn't a good year for him.

I have read where you need to put the park that he played in into consideration. Of course, but even with the Rays park, a tough park to hit in, it's not like Turner Field is Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. What's he going to do miraculously become a .800+ OPS guy coming to Turner Field? I'm sorry, I just don't believe that. Maybe it gets better, but I don't see it getting a ton better, which is where the problem lies.

This was also his contract year, usually players have a fantastic season in their contract year so that they make a lot of money, then some just fall apart after signing the contract. This worries me a lot that he stunk it up in his contract year.

Also read reports where B.J. Upton is lazy or just doesn't care a ton (know reason not to care when you are on a good playoff contending team for the years he was with the Rays, not like they were the Rays of old) and has a bad attitude. Honestly I don't know, so it's hard for me to comment here. Some Rays fans are saying good riddance and wouldn't want the Rays to bring him back, I think that speaks volumes. Some can't stand the guy at all and some will stick behind him saying he wasn't bad with his attitude. This case is likely similar to Yunel Escobar when he was with the Braves. Some Braves fans said he was a clubhouse cancer, some said everything is blown out of proportion. I think it was blown out of proportion a bit, but I also believe there likely was a problem, same is likely to be said about B.J. Upton.

I also read where others said B.J. Upton's 2012 season was worth $15 million based on WAR. Well, Bourn's season was worth around $29 or $30 million based on WAR, doesn't mean a team should be paying Bourn even close to that amount, same should be said about Upton. A mid market team like the Braves can't be paying every 3 WAR player $13-15 million per year, otherwise you will be severely screwed before long. I realize in the next 5 years, Bourn will likely have 3 good years and possibly start declining after that. Some think that B.J. Upton will continue to improve and he could, he is young enough to do that, but you don't pay 5-7 years at $13-16 million per year hoping he finally gets it together or out of nowhere regains his 2007 or 2008 form, I don't think that's a very smart move, just my opinion though.

Dan Uggla actually had a better 2012 season than B.J. Upton, and would also be considered "worth" the $13 million that he makes, since WAR says so. Heck a lot of fans want Dan Uggla gone with that contract. I believe if Uggla was a FA right this minute that no way Wren gives him 3 years at $13 million per year, he got that contract after a 4.9 season that he had with the Marlins, when the Braves acquired him during that off-season. Some say Braves would still give Uggla 3 years at $13 million right now because he is a power guy and they cost money, I don't believe that one bit, but everyone is entitled to their opinions.Someone might give him that contract, because at the end of the day there are 30 teams, only takes 1 team. I just don't believe it would be the Braves and never will change my opinion on that one.

Omar Infante had a 3.2 WAR season, and B.J. Upton had a 3.3 WAR season, don't believe anyone in their right mind should pay Infante $15 million a year, although WAR does say it would be good value... I think B.J. Upton will get a 5-7 year deal at $13-16 million per year somewhere, I hope it will be with the Phillies or another team, I believe that deal could hurt us a lot going forward. I've said what I wanted to say, maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong, either way we likely won't know until he signs and if I am right and Braves do sign him, then too late then... I'd rather not lose one of Heyward/Freeman/Medlen/Prado/Kimbrel to FA in the future because of a dead weight contract of B.J. Upton.

Just because Wren really likes B.J. Upton and values him a lot doesn't mean he is always right. Wren also signed Derek Lowe and before that signed Albert Belle in 1999 when he was the GM of the Orioles and gave him the biggest contract in baseball that year signing the 32-year-old DH to a 5-year, $62 mil contract. Belle did come off a great great season, but he always was a prick, probably juiced as well since he had anger problems and stuff. Maybe nobody could see how disastrous that deal was at the time, but it really hurt the Orioles finances. He also signed career set-up man Mike Timlin and he was paid $16 mil over four years to close, and it didn't work out for him either.. While I like what Frank Wren has done with the Atlanta Braves as a GM and so far have agreed with most of what he has done, I think it's safe to say the one Achilles heel for Wren is FA signings, especially when he has the money. So just because Wren really like B.J. Upton doesn't necessarily mean Braves fans shouldn't be worried... I am a supporter of Frank Wren and think overall he has been a great GM for us, but he isn't flawless, nor is anyone else.

I believe we should try to acquire Dexter Fowler or Denard Span first, then if nothing materializes try for other players out there or sign FA Victorino, who would be much cheaper in years and money per year. Fowler will be tough to acquire, and likely a long shot, I won't hold my breath believing we will acquire him. I think Denard Span would be a great find. Span has a real affordable contract as well, and would be worth the money he would make. The Twins badly want pitching, we have a very good pitching depth of pitchers in our minors. I don't think we should deal Teheran or Delgado, but there are other good prospects that I would be ok with dealing for a talent like Span. He had a better season than B.J. Upton and this is Span's contract status which is really nice: 2013: $4.75M, 2014: $6.5M, 2015: $9M club option($0.5M buyout). Even if we can't make a trade for a good young CF, there are enough moves we can make that could save us a lot of money in the future instead of paying B.J. Upton.

I know I said a lot, sorry about that, but this really is a big deal if the Braves end up signing B.J. Upton, only time would tell if it would be a good signing or bad, I personally think bad, but I don't have a crystal ball to know for sure, just my opinion. What are your thoughts about B.J. Upton and other rosterbation ideas?

This FanPost does not express the views or opinions of Talking Chop.

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