The Philadelphia Phillies continue to be linked with a move for free-agent centerfielder BJ Upton, though the team’s general manager Ruben Amaro Jr appears to be dragging his heels.
Amaro’s reluctance to enter into meaningful talks has stalled any possible move for the former Tampa Bay Rays right-hander, and it is understood the Phillies GM is keen not to limit his options.
Upton has also been linked with a move to the Atlanta Braves, while a number of other teams are also believed to be contemplating an approach.
“Pretty much all of the guys we’re talking about could satisfy our needs in some shape or form,” said a cautious Amaro, who finished his playing career with the Phillies in 1998.
“There are some guys that would satisfy our need for some power, and there are other guys who could satisfy a need for contact and speed. It just all depends on how we put it together.”
Alongside Josh Hamilton, who is considered by many to be more adept in the leftfielder position, Upton is rated by many experts as the most powerful centerfielder available in the current market.
Aged 28, he already has considerable experience at MLB level under his belt, but many observers believe he could be a late bloomer, whose best years remain ahead of him.
The Phillies are targeting a rebound in 2013 after failing to defend the National League East title they’d held for the five previous years.
Having set a record for wins in 2011, Amaro’s men struggled badly during the early stages of this most recent campaign, and endured a sizeable slump during June and July.
An upturn in form during the latter stages was not enough to salvage the Phillies’ title hopes and elimination from the Wild Card race soon followed.
It means the Phillies were absent from the postseason for the first time in 2006.
And, while Amaro may be wise not to commit himself too strongly to any single player during the off-season, he’d be foolish to allow a player of Upton’s undoubted quality slip through his fingers.
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