3:59 p.m. EDT update: Ken Rosenthal said on MLB Network that Upton won’t be traded. He’s not a candidate to clear waivers, so it looks like he’ll finish the year in Tampa Bay.
Things could still change, but with a little less than two hours remaining before the trade deadline, Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that center fielder B.J. Upton is in the Rays’ starting lineup this afternoon against the Mariners.
Upton has been mentioned constantly in trade rumors over the past couple of weeks, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that some front office people are beginning to think that he’ll stay with the Rays through the deadline. It makes sense, since the Braves, Phillies and Giants are now out of the mix.
The Nationals, Reds, Indians and Pirates have also expressed interest in the 26-year-old recently, so it’s still possible that something could get done. However, it’s looking more and more likely that the Rays could decide to shop him this winter.
Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.
While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:
A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?
Either way: big year ahead for Harper.