After a couple of weekend reports about B.J. Upton, we hear today that the Phillies are talking to the Rays about inquiring the lesser of the Upton brothers. That’s from Jen Royle, who says that the Nats are still interested as well.
Upton is having a pretty terrible year so far, hitting .229/.310/.395, but he plays good defense and, as has been said so many time, has the potential to be so much better than he is. He certainly wouldn’t be a difference-maker like Carlos Beltran, but given how comfy the Phillies’ lead is at the moment, their biggest need isn’t a difference-maker as much as it is felxibility and freshness in the second half and all of that.
And hey, if Upton explodes for a month or two like he’s capable of doing, all the better.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.