But what about B.J.? His solid power numbers are negated somewhat this year by his .227 batting average.
Talk to Rays fans, and the sentiment seems to be that Upton is a ficw-tool player who has yet to reach his potential, and some fear he may never. But what shouldn't be forgotten is the fact that he though he's in his seventh year in the majors, he's only 26 years old, which theoretically means he hasn't reached his peak as a player (thought to be in one's later twenties).
But will it happen in St. Petersburg? There are indications that it won't. And that has to be part of the calculus of the general managers of teams like Pittsburgh, Philly, and others who are looking to add to their team for the stretch run.
Would his loss be demoralizing for Rays fans? You betcha. Even though many seem to have a love-hate affair with the mercurial centerfielder, among their starting nine players, only Evan Longoria would remain as household name of any sort (Sam Fuld doesn't really count). Though Carl Crawford has had an uneven year in Boston, the loss of those two, in addition to all of the other players that departed during the off season, and it might seem pretty remarkable that only until this last week of July have the Rays looked relatively ordinary (that's of course, ignoring the horrific 1-8 start that began the 2010 campaign), as they now trail New York by double digits in the AL East.
So with a third of the season left, who looks like their going to The Show? For much of this season, it's been safe to consider a Boston-Philadelphia World Series. The Phillies have been the best team in baseball all season, and have really only started hit in the past couple of weeks. Their much hyped starting rotation, led by Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee has been as good as advertised.
Philly won the 2008 series and lost in 2009 to the New York Yanks. They were the prohibitive favorite going into the postseason last year when they were stung by the buzzsaw that was the Giants amazing September and October roll, losing 4-2 in in the NLCS.
If Philadelphia had landed Beltran, it might have been game over. Instead Giants General Manager Brian Sabean thrilled SF fans by landing the Mets switch-hitter, who was acquired for an outstanding pitching prospect named Zack Wheeler. The fact that the Giants went into Citizens Bank park this week and took two out of three from the Phils has some baseball observers wondering if somehow the Giants are inside the Phillies heads.
The two play a rematch series next weekend in San Francisco, with four games. If the Giants can do better than a split, there maybe something to the psychological factor.