Today Justin Upton got a six-year $50M contract from the Diamondbacks, and it was well-deserved. Upton seems poised for greatness, and Arizona did the right thing locking him up.

Landing the big bucks hasn’t been so easy for Justin’s brother, Rays center fielder BJ Upton.

BJ was drafted by the Rays in 2002 and signed a $4.6M bonus. He made his major league debut in 2004, playing in 45 games.

In 2007, he blossomed, hitting .300-24-82 with 22 steals. A lot of teams would have responded to a season like that by offering their talented young outfielder a multiyear deal. That’s what the Dbacks did with Justin.

Instead, the Rays decided to reduce BJ’s salary, paying him $10,000 less in 2008. If that’s not a slap in the face, I don’t know what is.

This offseason, the Rays took BJ to arbitration over $300,000 and won. BJ will make $3M.

Don’t get me wrong, BJ doesn’t deserve your pity. He’s making millions of dollars to play a game. Moreover, he’s been hounded by allegations that he doesn’t always hustle.

But it’s interesting how one talented brother is being shown the money while the other has been nickled and dimed.

6 Responses to “BJ Upton still waiting for his big contract”

  1. Just so you know, the Rays actually approached BJ after his big season about signing a long-term contract, but he elected to go year-to-year with his salary. His assumption has always been that he could make more by taking it to arbitration and trusting his talent to be worth a lot once he reaches free-agency, but obviously since then he’s not been at his best. He’s definitely cost himself some millions at this point.

    The Rays have tried on a couple occasions to re-engage him in long-term talks, but nothing doing so far. There’s been rumors that he’s been more willing to consider it recently, though, so we’ll have to see what happens.

  2. So yeah, they reduced his salary, but he was under team control and that’s what he was opening himself up for by not signing a long term deal. I just feel like it’s his loss.

  3. This almost reminds me of the way the Braves and Jeff Francoeur went through with their contract negotiations. After his rookie season, the Braves offered both McCann and Francoeur long-term contracts that bought out all of their arbitration years and then some. Francoeur didn’t accept it and his production slipped almost every year after that, which will potentially cost him millions of dollars.

  4. The Braves dodged a bullet there.

  5. I saw a Durham Bulls game when BJ was playing short during which he made 6 errors. One game! To put in perspective how momentously terrible this game was, the Bulls as a team committed 9 errors.

  6. He if wants to make the big $, he should learn to hustle and not have such a bad attitude. He only making what seems like a small salary if compared to the other over inflated salaries in baseball today. He should thank his lucky stars and God that he has the talent (that he seems to be wasting for the most part) to play a childs game and make millions of dollars. Wise up Sport.

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