On the day when Bob Nightengale of USA Today said other MLB teams were scouting B.J. Upton because they believe the Rays will look to trade him in the offseason, Upton put on a show for everyone watching. Upton seems unaffected by the talks and made a history by becoming the first Rays player in franchise history to hit for the cycle.
I'm sure teams are scouting Upton, and I'm sure the Rays will listen to offers as they should, but selling low on Upton seems highly unlikely. Unlike Carl Crawford, Upton has three years left of team control and even though he is set for arbitration this offseason after the past two years his raise isn't likely to be that big of a deal.
But back to the cycle...
Upton has flirted with the cycle in the past, but has come short each time. Several Rays this season including Upton, Jason Bartlett, and more recently Reid Brignac have come close to the cycle, but each have fallen a hit short. On this night Upton would not be denied.
With CC Sabathia going for win #20, Upton greeted him with a bases clearing triple to put the Rays up 4-0 in the first inning. In the third inning, Upton would hit a double off the base of the wall and later score on a Fernando Perez single. The Rays chased Sabathia after allowing nine runs (five earned) in just 2.2 innings, but that didn't stop Bossman Junior. In his third at-bat of the night, Upton would smash a two run shot off of Jonathan Albaladejo to put the Rays up 11-1 and leave himself a single shy of the elusive cycle in just the fourth inning.
Upton would waste no time and in the next inning he lined a two strike curveball into right field for a single to complete the cycle. At the time of the cycle, Upton had six RBI through five innings. 2009 may have been a disappointment for Upton, but it's nights like tonight that give us hope for his future.