2012 marked the first time since 2006 that the Philadelphia Phillies did not reach the MLB Playoffs. Injuries to both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley left the Phillies with a pedestrian 81-81 record in 2012. Free agent center fielder B.J. Upton may just be the answer to an inconsistent Philadelphia offense.
Entering his ninth professional season, Upton is no stranger to the long ball. In the last two seasons, the Tampa Bay Rays center fielder has clubbed 51 home runs and drove in 159. Both of those numbers are better than any outfielder the Phillies have had in the last two seasons. Upton would take advantage of a hitter-friendly Citizen Bank Ballpark.
Looking back to 2008 when the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series, their outfield production was a big reason why. LF Pat Burrell homered 33 times that season along with 86 RBI’s, not to mention a comined 56 stolen bases from CF Shane Victorino and RF Jayson Werth. Upton has stole 232 bases in his career and surpassed the 40 bags mark in one season three times.
Upton would fill an offensive void that the Phillies outfield has felt since the magical 2008 season.
There is a reason that the Rays are cutting ties with Upton for the 2013 season. That reasoning is justified by Upton’s career .255 average and a career high 169 strikeouts in 2012. Upton was no stranger to controversy while in Tampa Bay as well, but a change of scenery will more than likely solve the petty problems he encountered in Tampa Bay.
A jack of all trades, Upton is an interesting free agent to any ball club lacking outfield produciton. However, given the current roster the Phillies would benefit the most from a power hitter with speed like B.J. Upton. A better than average pitching staff combined with proven offensive weapons should have Phillies fans excited for 2013, BJ Upton would make them twice as scary.