You may remember back in April Fox's diminutive, bow-tie wearing sideline reporter Ken Rosenthal reported the Nationals were looking for help in center field, and one of the names he mentioned was Tampa Bays Rays center fielder B.J. Upton. Well, it appears Upton is still very much on the radar for the Nationals, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com:
The Nationals continue to look for a center fielder, and B.J. Upton of the Rays is one of their targets, according to a baseball source.
Upton, a Virginia native and Ryan Zimmerman’s childhood friend, is considered an excellent defensive center fielder, but is having a down year at the plate, hitting .230 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs.
However, according to the source, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo believes a change of scenery would help Upton’s career.
The ongoing struggles of Rick Ankiel, and inconsistent play of Roger Bernadina, are forcing GM Mike Rizzo to ponder any and all center field options, with Upton apparently leading a pack that also includes Michael Bourn of the Houston Astros and Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers. As Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball notes in his post today, Washington center fielders are now dead last in OPS in the National League. At this rate, John Fogerty might be a viable option out there in center.