B.J. Upton, Thought to Be Phillies Target in Free Agency, Signs with Atlanta

B.J. Upton, Thought to Be Phillies Target in Free Agency, Signs with Atlanta

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

A big-name centerfielder is officially off the free agent
market. Former Tampa Bay Ray B.J. Upton is headed to the NL East, but he won’t
be wearing red pinstripes. The 28 year old has reportedly agreed to a five-year
contract worth $75 million with the Atlanta Braves. Looks like we’ll have
plenty of opportunities to see exactly what the Phillies are missing.

A few weeks back at the GM meetings, our man Jim Salisbury
reported centerfielder B.J. Upton was the Phillies’ “main focus” in free agency
this winter. If that was in fact the case, it’s not been like Ruben Amaro Jr.
to lose his man in recent years, yet that appears to be exactly what happened
here.

The deal with the Bravos works out to $15 million annually,
which is a steep price to pay for a player whose numbers have been in decline
for awhile. Upton is coming off of his worst season in many respects, batting
.246 with a .298 on-base percentage. However, he did set a personal best with
28 home runs, and is still a tremendous athlete.

I was never fully on board with the idea of Upton as the Phillies’
centerfielder myself. The declining numbers were worrisome, and while they
could use another right-handed bat with some power, he’s a perennial top-10 in
strikeouts as well, which always seems to be an ongoing struggle in their
lineup.

Then again, Upton certainly would have been an upgrade over…
whoever the centerfielder is right now. He certainly doesn't hurt the Braves.

The good news is there are still several options on the
table. Who knows, maybe the answer happens to be on his way out of Atlanta in
the form of former Phillie Michael Bourn. That’s just an idea though. Where
does the front office go from here?

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

Phillies 2B prospect Valentin (shoulder) out; Kingery to stay at Double A for now

Phillies 2B prospect Valentin (shoulder) out; Kingery to stay at Double A for now

The Phillies' depth at second base has taken a hit.

Jesmuel Valentin, the starter at Triple A Lehigh Valley, is headed for surgery after dislocating his left shoulder. General manager Matt Klentak indicated that it was likely Valentin would miss the remainder of the season.

Valentin, 23, made a good showing in big-league spring training camp and, in fact, was the last position player cut from the 25-man roster. He had been off to a slow start at Lehigh Valley, hitting just .229 with a .573 OPS in his first 29 games.

With Valentin out, the Phillies could promote top second base prospect Scott Kingery from Double A to Triple A. While that is likely to happen at some point, nothing is imminent, Klentak said. The IronPigs will use veteran Pedro Florimon at second for the time being.

Kingery, 23, has been on a tear at Reading. He entered Monday leading the Eastern League in homers (13), extra-base hits (25) and slugging (.651). Overall, he was hitting .289 with a 1.018 OPS.

"Not imminent," Klentak said of a possible promotion for Kingery. "Very possible down the road. We've got more than enough infield coverage (at Triple A) to be fine and Kingery is good where he is."

Kingery, a 2015 draft pick, played just 37 games at the Double A level last season. He entered Monday having played in 37 games there this season.

Kingery on Monday was named the Eastern League player of the week for May 15-21. He went 9 for 30 with five homers, six RBIs, nine runs scored and an .833 OPS.

N.J. high school baseball player performs big-league worthy bat flip

N.J. high school baseball player performs big-league worthy bat flip

With all the bat flips going on in Major League Baseball by the likes of Odubel Herrera and Jose Bautista, it's a good bet that kids watching the game are taking notice.

Gloucester Catholic High School's Chris Turco has apparently seen the celebration.

In a game on Sunday, Turco launched the ball high above the wall in left field. However, he may have launched the bat even higher.

Look at this ridiculous bat flip.

According to Kevin Minnick of South Jersey Sports Digest, both of the next hitters were plunked and Turco's team lost.

Despite that, Turco is giving the pros a run for their money in the bat flip department.