As expected, B.J. Upton—as well as all eight other MLB eligibles—declined his $13.3 qualifying offer from the Rays Friday, officially making him a free agent. With B.J. Upton now surely not returning to Tampa Bay next season, there’s a lot of speculation of the Rays potentially making a serious run at younger brother Justin via trade.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Rays could potentially emerge as front-runners for Upton since the Texas Rangers continue to insist that they’re not willing to trade a shortstop (Jurickson Profar or Elvis Andrus) to the Diamondbacks in a trade for him. Rosenthal also suggests that the Rays could offer either Jeremy Hellickson or James Shields in addition to prospect Hak-Ju Lee if they were to deal for Upton.
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