Posted: 8:59 am Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Why B.J. Upton still would seem untradeable 

By Mark Bradley

Say this for B.J.: He does have nice glasses. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Say this for B.J.: He does have nice glasses. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Bob Nightengale of USA Today has provided details regarding the Atlanta Braves’ attempt to trade B.J. Upton in July, an attempt first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports. Nightengale reports that the Braves were willing to take pitcher Edwin Jackson off the Cubs’ hands in “a straight swap of dead weight contracts.”

In other words: Not exactly a bonanza.

Jackson is owed $22 million over the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Upton is owed $46 million over the next three seasons. So: Big savings to the Braves, right? Per Nightengale, the Braves “would have had to throw in a ton of cash.” So: Not such big savings, and not exactly a straight swap after all.

Nightengale reports that “the two sides say they weren’t close to agreeing to a deal.” (This is slightly different from the version Rosenthal reported, which had the Braves offering Upton plus a starting pitcher and then saying no, which never made much sense to me.) And here we have to ask: Is it worth paying any price to get rid of Upton?

In two seasons as a Brave, Upton’s WAR rating — this according to Baseball Reference — is minus-2.8. In two seasons as a Cub, Jackson’s WAR rating is minus-3.2. Jackson is 14-32 with a 5.47 ERA since signing for four seasons at $52 million. He led the National League in losses last year and is leading it again now. In sum, he’s the B.J. Upton of starting pitchers.

I understand why the Braves want to dump Upton. I also understand why the Cubs want to dump Jackson. I just don’t understand why anyone would want to acquire either one, even if it’s just for the proverbial change of scenery. (There’s also this: The Cubs, who’ve been rebuilding for the better part of a century, have just promoted touted outfielders Jorge Soler and Matt Szczur to the majors. Why would they want B.J. taking up space?)

It makes sense for the Braves to keep trying to divest themselves of Upton and his contract, but I continue to believe the only way it will happen is if they go the Dan Uggla route, which means they pay him $46 million to go away. But remember how long it took them to reach that point with Uggla.

104 comments
ROY WSLATER
ROY WSLATER

I have been a Braves fan since 1953, when they moved to Milwaukee. so I have witnessed many more down years than good ones....Here is my take on the BJ Upton situation....I was dead against the Dan Uggla trade, and even more so with the BJ Upton FA signing....The one constant...Frank Wren...I have never been a Wren or Gonzalez fan, and now have relegated this season for the Braves to miss the playoffs, and hopefully Scherholtz with our new owners blessing will go out and get the Braves a top notch GM, like a Billy Beane, and together can hire a top notch Manager.....Now that we have tied up our core young players with new contracts,we have to have a new GM to bring in some top FA's to fill in around these young guys, especially our starting pitching, and I believe this team could make a NLCS run in 2015....Wren & Gonzalez gotta go...!!!

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

I'm glad they at least TRIED to trade him for the worst pitcher in baseball. The fact that the Cubs still wanted another player and a ton of cash just verifies what a horrible and totally unwanted player BJ is to the league. As the saying goes "he has a face only Frank Wren could love".

This error in judgement along with Dan Uggla will go down in Braves history as the debacle that saddled this team for half a decade! People will still talk about it 30 years from now.

falconman
falconman

The Braves are dead to me. They are not worth watching. Maybe after new owners and management  I will return. 


ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

At least Jackson could throw batting practice.

Maybe the Nationals would take BJ if the Braves paid his entire salary. Then he could go screw their lineup up for a year or two.

ChessMaster
ChessMaster

It seems that if you want a bunch of postings, bring up the subject of BJ Upton. The decision to sign him was in the past. The article is about what recently happened in the potential trade market, and what do the Braves do with him now. All anyone wants to post is cut him or fire Wren. This has been going on all year.


The Braves need to get some value out of BJ, and that will only happen if they can get him back on track. I am not one to accuse him or anyone of being a juicer or on PEDs. No one here knows. I will say that he seems his own worst enemy when he is in the batter's box, and he needs to get past that. He seems to be constantly complaining about the umpire's calls, and that is not going to get him a break. When he gets a call that he disagrees with early in the count, you can plan on a strike out. He takes himself out of the at bat and becomes easier prey.


I didn't see much of BJ before he came to Atlanta, but his appearance in Atlanta always seems to be him complaining, and frankly the whining should stop. It doesn't do him any good. He also is never going to 'earn' his pay. No one with that kind of a contract can. No, not even Chipper. The money ballplayers make is based on them being entertainers and the money can be unbelievable. This isn't a slam on BJ or any other player. It is just the way things work. These guys make more money than neurosurgeons and have less impact on our lives.


BJ should simply appreciate his contract and count it as his. He needs to forget trying to prove himself by hitting five run homers. It isn't going to happen. He also plays a different game than his brother. Don't try to be the power guy. Just go back to playing ball for the fun of it.

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

I love when it is Take Your Great Granddaughter to Work Day at the AJC.  That's when Bradley writes his best stuff.  Unfortunately it is also when an hour's worth of reader posts get deleted. "Great granddaddy, what's this red button?"  "Oh well, don't you worry now hun.  Wheel me over to the window, like a nice little girl."

seminoleking
seminoleking

i said yesterday that shipping gattis, la stella and pena WITH upton to the reds or any team looking for young cheap talent, would be the only way they get rid of that contract.....

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

I would have been all in favor of an Upton for Jackson swap, if only because the Braves have a much better track record of resurrecting failed pitchers than failed hitters.

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

The real cost of the Upton contract will be if they are too cash-strapped to extend players who are actually productive, like Heyward after next season. Hopefully it doesn't come to that.

BRAVES2143
BRAVES2143

The deal also included the Braves throwing in a lot of money too and that was the sticking point of the deal.  Some reports say the Cubs wanted 15 mil and the Braves were around 9.   Either way the only way the Braves can trade Upton is if they include him in a multi player deal that includes some pretty good young players.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Wren and Mr. Hairgel of the Falcons are quite a pair. Probably attend the same manicurist.

Frank_Wren
Frank_Wren

BJ, Uggla, Lowe, Kawakami, et al. have one thing in common: Wren. Wren was the worst signing of all. He is arrogant and gets outsmarted by good agents. If he was good he would still be in Baltimore. He caused a BJ situation there; anyone remember Albert Belle?

jdcigar
jdcigar

The only thing more insane then signing a near 200 career hitter to a huge contract would be to continue playing him and hoping he will perform better.  Hopefully new management will cut their losses with him after the season..

badbrad23
badbrad23

Next year's BJ?  Chris Johnson.  Great year last year so Frank Wren jumps in with 5 year deal.  Despite the great year, there was a reason he was a throw-in in the trade for Upton.  Wren appears to be the problem.  If BJ doesnt get him fired, then C Johnson most assuredly will.

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

Until baseball gets rid of long term and guaranteed money with no salary cap this will happen more and more. It's ridiculous to sign anyone for more than 3 years.

-sting-
-sting-

mark,  maybe dayton moore is the answer and was the answer until he left.

Techmate
Techmate

Seems to me the Braves ought to be able to sue BJ for "failure to perform" - It's impossible to understand why baseball does not have performance criteria in their contracts. Should a player not perform at a certain level, then the contract is null and void.

tyger
tyger

No man is an Island...


Baseball is a team sport...

Thus, plenty blame to go around...

ATL epic fail not solely BJ Upton...


Issues extend beyond BJ...

Bad managerial/executive decisions...

For example, this latest drought...


At leadoff, BJ seemingly came around...

In fact, won a couple games w big hits...

Coincidentally, ATL goes on win streak...


Mgr. moves BJ down to 8th spot...

ATL goes on losing streak...

Coincidence? I think not...


So unaccustomed to spending...

That even when they do, they do unwisely...

This goes back to Mike Hampton...pre-Wren...


Overmatched and outgunned...

Braves trying to win big w 4 players:

Simmons, Heyward, J.Upton, Freeman...

1 player may reach 30 HR...

0 will reach 100 rbi...


Yes, you're handcuffed, but who handcuffed you?...


Terry Pendleton should be manager...

But for, the franchise political infrastructure... 

ATL mgr would  be last of the mohicans...


But franchise not serious about winning...

Serious about participating...

And participation is profitable...


CadillacRanch
CadillacRanch

One could say that John Lackey was one of the worst free-agent signings in history (6.11 ERA in 2011 & injured all of 2012).  Then he helped the Red Sox win a title.  I'm not saying B.J. is going to turn it around after two miserable years like Lackey did, but with $46 million still to be paid, the Braves have to be hoping for a similar miracle.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

Lowe.Kawakami. McLouth. Uggla. B.J. - all high dollar BUSTS acquired by Frank Wren.

Furman Bitcher
Furman Bitcher

Schaffer hitting over .300 in 18 games for Twins. just saying.

BaseballBuff
BaseballBuff

These long-term guaranteed contracts are for the birds. The system is broken. A contract should - must - have some performance clauses in it. An NFL model for signing baseball players would be far preferable to what we have now.

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

I guess you can lay this at the feet of the President, who used the words, "Stop hatin' all the time." in yet another recent campaign speech, and to the polarization of politics in general. But, I really wish this lame concept had not leaked into entertainment, sports etc. 


What Obama was saying was, "Stop disagreeing withe me all of the time."  In other words, disagreement, constructive criticism, having different ideas, or a different perspective, or even just pointing out established, but inconvenient facts  is now tantamount to "hating." 


I can't speak for others, but I don't hate BJ Upton. From purely a business standpoint, after two years,  the Braves Inc. need to write off their loss as soon as possible, as they did with Uggla. I know, it is easy to say, This lemon of a pick up truck was not worth even close to what I paid for it.  But, it is harder to do that with people. But, in business, in order to succeed, you have to do that.  The Braves need to do that. 


What we don't know and don't see is how his presence impacts the players. How does it impact a young hopeful who would love a chance to pinch hit in the ninth inning of a still winnable game, only to see BJ trotted back up to the plate to do his usual thing? Or to watch a young pitcher lose a brilliant effort because he and his brother have not yet mastered the fundamentals of calling a fly ball in the outfield?  And, how does it make to team feel to seem them do that, or others do similar dumb things, or that no one on the team can bunt a baseball, and it is all just perfectly fine with the constantly supportive and apologizing for bad play manager?  The Braves have no heart, no pop, no sizzle, no leaders, no comraderie, no passion, but they have enough talent to be leading the Nationals right now. . Maybe BJ is costing them a lot more than just his salary. 


BTW. Schafer is in Minnesota now, hitting .300. +/- .  He showed he was capable of this last year when he got some regular playing time before the was injured.  If he had gotten the same consideration BJ has gotten this year, and the chance to get into a regular rhythm, he could have won the CF starting  job. What I do hate about the Braves is that Schafer might have been held back on purpose before he was traded  just to avoid the PR mess and embarrassment of playing BJ ahead of him. But they could sure use Schafer's bat and speed and fielding ability about now. I bet he even knows how to call fly balls. 

FSUBetty55
FSUBetty55

@DawgDadII  I second that agreement. The CBA with baseball players compared with the one for the NFLPA is like night and day. I don't pity NFL players, but they don't get squat compared the baseball deal.

TomGaff
TomGaff

Just for fun, I decided to look this up on the MLB website. BJ(with the Braves) in 459 AB's has 19 SBs while Schafer(with Braves & Twins) in 133 AB's has 23 SBs! I do not think, what Schaf did three years ago with the Astros, should define him? It's all about what you can do NOW, Uggla is a fine example of that!

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

The real problem with BJ Upton is his contract and level of performance are testimony to how disrespectful the current labor agreement is to the fans. MLB is supposed to be a sport; fans that want to follow the sport should not be compelled to subsidize long-term contracts for players who can no longer perform at a replacement level. It costs all of us, when we go to the ballgames or in higher cable and consumer product costs. It is not a good agreement and it has and continues to corrupt the game and the sport.



highfive
highfive

It would b very interesting to know who is making the ultimate decision to keep BJ in the lineup, Wren or Fredi? Whoever it is should immediately be let go and the other one should follow for putting up with this nonsense. The worst thing for the Braves is to make the playoffs since it may delay revamping this team from top to bottom.

flyboy2b
flyboy2b

 Before Wren's decision to sign BJ, did he ever look at BJ's baseball card or watch a video of BJ playing center field?  He could not have used either of these as support for signing BJ at all.  Wren should be fired for this transaction, alone.


This decision ranks in the category of trading Adam Wainwright, Jason Marquis and Ray King to rent J D Drew for the remainder of the 1994 season, after which Drew signed with the Dodgers.  That was a stupid transaction, too.

DavidRamsey
DavidRamsey

the white sox rode out a worse contract with Dunn for 4 years, he batted .201 for 4 yrs, BJ is beating that. no playoffs, but just 3 more years of  .325 slugging for 46$ mill 

FrankfromKS
FrankfromKS

I didn't jump on the BJ hater-wagon as soon as everyone else last season. New team, new league, etc....but even I can see he needs to go now.

Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg
Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg

I would agree with everyone that bj is awful and should not be on our team. That being said Jordan Schafer was/is not the amswer. When played in 106 games in Houston he hit 211. I don't know who is the answer but it's not these two.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@seminoleking Why would the Reds or any MLB team want to take on the worst rated position player in a trade,even if the Braves paid 99%of his salary every outfielder on the Reds roster is playing better than BJ Upton.

Crazy-Catfish
Crazy-Catfish

@NajehDavenpoop when did heyward become productive... your diluted.. upton needs to go and heyward needs to be right behind him.

Stinger2
Stinger2

@jdcigar I am not aware of there being new management after the season.  Can you share who they will be?  Thanks

TampGator1
TampGator1

@Techmate 


They did back in the day. Greed and player abuse by owners changed that.  Now, the shoe is on the other foot with deals being paid to free agent players like Uggla and B.J.  Payback, I guess.  Neither is good for the game.   

seminoleking
seminoleking

@tyger you are correct. ive said all along that the braves other players should thank their high horses that bj upton provides them a cover from the media.  the whole lineup is streaky. the whole lineup sucks. if bj upton wasnt on the team, then it would shine the spotlight on that fact......

TheBigWally
TheBigWally

@tyger You have selective memory I believe.  BJ started crashing before they moved him out of the lead off.

weensiss
weensiss

@SaveAmericaFromItself none of those trades or signings looked bad when they happened. mcclouth was an excellent CF with good speed and some power. we didn't trade much for him. charlie morton, and gorkys hernandez. mcclouth was good for a year. then he sucked. same sort of with lowe and kawakami. good track records, decent first seasons, then they crashed. uggla had above a .280 avg, 30+ HR, and 100 RBIs. he had a pretty good season in the second half and then crashed. bj was an utter bust. i actually wonder if playing in turner field has something to do with their problems. yea, wren and gonzalez have been making pretty bad managerial decisions lately, but it will be hard to get rid of them now because a) century media doesn't care b) we won 96 and 94 games the last two years, and c) braves management, top to bottom takes forever to carry out releases or firings if the player has problems. at least they were trying to get rid of BJ.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@highfive Do you really think anyone with a pair, would be honest enough to tell us the truth about why he plays all most every day?

TheBigWally
TheBigWally

@highfive Got to think it is Wren.  Let's assume that all 5 years of BJ's $75 mil contract produce results like this, which is basically nothing.  Then add the 2/3 years of Ugla that we basically didn't get, or now won't get any production from.  You'll looking at a GM who has basically blown over $100 million dollars for practically no production at all.  Folks, Wren is in the running for being one of the worse GM's in Atlanta sports history.  Right now he is in close 2nd to Don Waddell. 

private33
private33

@DavidRamsey Dunn has hit 105 HR's and has 273 RBI's since joining the Sox. Batting avg. is the most overrated stat in baseball. The differnce between a .300 hitter and a .200 hitter is is 1 hit every 10 at bats or about 2 hits over 4 or 5 games. He has also drawn 320 walks has a fairly good OBP. No comparison to BJ.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg

That was three seasons ago.  Look at his numbers last season before the injury.  Given an extended opportunity, he is infinitely better than BJ in defense and hitting.

TheBigWally
TheBigWally

@58Supersports @Furman Bitcher Batting .302, with an OBP of .403, 8 SB in 18 games. Yea we definately don't need that kind of a hitter/producer on the team.  Might mess up our strategy of scoring 1 or 2 runs a game.  I don't care what he did 2 years ago in Houston.  

Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg
Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg

Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman can hit with a bad manager?

Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg
Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg

Schafer hit 211 in 106 games with the astros is that not good enough playing time for you

TheBigWally
TheBigWally

@Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg They also play everyday.  Schaffer played once every 2 weeks as a pinch hitter.  Kind of hard to get your timing down with that amount of infrequent at bats.

TheBigWally
TheBigWally

@Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg Try to keep up. That was two or three years ago when he admitted he didn't have his head on straight.  He's now batting over .300, with 8 steals now that he is getting to play everyday.  He has had as many hits in 2 weeks as BJ has had in 2 months, and the Braves let him go for nothing.

Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg
Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg

Let me ask you this would you give bj a pass if he said he didn't have his head straight?

TheBigWally
TheBigWally

@Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg It would at least explain his bad numbers.  Bottom line - BJ has nearly 2 years of this kind of ineptitude. Schaffer had 2/3rds of bad season with Astros.  What Schaffer is doing now in Minnesota may be an anomoly (sp), time will tell, but I think the Braves would have a better won/lose record right now if they would have been playing him and not BJ.  Got to remember, look at all the 1 run loss games we had.  Schaffer instead of BJ in the line up may have given us a few more wins, which may be the difference between playoffs and no playoffs.

Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg
Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg

I'll agree that Schafer would be better than bj. That being said I don't think either one of them would be the answer

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Snoop_Dawgy_Dawg You might be right but if Schafer had as many AB's as BJ, he might realistically have 60-65 SB's and let's just say hit .260 BA. I could live with that and his good D? The kid always hustles with his uniform dirty every game he played.