B.J. Upton’s second-inning strikeout against Phillies starter Jerome Williams marked number 172 on the season, breaking a tie with Dan Uggla for the Braves’ single-season record. His brother Justin, who has not struck out tonight as of this writing, has 169 strikeouts on the season.
It’s a feat of ignominy for B.J., whose Braves tenure has been less than ideal after signing a five-year, $75.25 million contract in November 2012. In two seasons in Atlanta entering tonight’s game, Upton has compiled a .197/.277/.310 slash line with 20 home runs, 60 RBI, and 32 stolen bases in 44 attempts across 1,020 plate appearances.
Among players to have compiled at least 1,000 plate appearances over the last two seasons, Upton’s -0.6 WAR (FanGraphs) ranks as the third-worst behind only Adeiny Hechavarria and Dayan Viciedo. Typically, players who provide so little value eventually lose out on their playing time, but the Braves are committed to playing him everyday due to the amount of money and years they committed to him.
Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.
Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”
Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.
Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.