Giants Now Targeting Rays' B.J. Upton? - NBC Bay Area

Giants Now Targeting Rays' B.J. Upton?



    Carlos Beltran is the name mentioned in every sentence involving "Giants" and "trade" over the past few months, but there's a new name on the block as of Monday morning: B.J. Upton.

    That's right -- the uber-talented, oft-struggling Rays' centerfielder is now all up in the Giants radar, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

    Actually, he's "the Beltran alternative" for San Francisco, but he's a player that would make sense as a better fit in the "big scheme of things" (my words) for Brian Sabean's club.

    Is he as good a hitter as Beltran? No. And it's not really even close. Upton would also most likely make various Giants fans scream in anger with his ability to crank out a low batting average and pile up whiffs.

    But, he's substantially better on defense and would immediately improve the overall defensive capability of the Giants outfield.

    Additionally, Upton's 27 -- not 34 like Beltran. For a team so heavily weighted with veterans like the Giants, there's certainly nothing wrong with acquiring a young bat.

    Especially if that bat is under control for more than just this year, as Upton is -- Beltran, on the other hand, would be a free agent following the 2011 season which might mean the Giants giving up a prospect in vain for a guy like Beltran.

    Upton would give them a building block for the future and, as Rosenthal writes, could become "energized" playing for the World-Series champ and getting involved in a playoff race.

    There are some issues, however. (There always are, duh.)

    Mainly the Rays are a really good team when it comes to trades -- making a deal with them is tougher (from a "let's rip them off" perspective) and they're all but certain to demand a prospect in return.

    It's obviously easier to sacrifice a prospect if it means getting a younger bat, though.

    And then there's the whole "other teams" thing -- it appears the Indians, Braves, Phillies and Rangers are all interested in pursuing Upton as well, should Beltran fall through.

    The Giants, though, arguably (definitely?) need offense more than any of those teams, so don't be surprised if there's talk of them "swooping in" for Upton as well as we get closer to the trade deadline.