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Something to Keep in Mind Regarding B.J. Upton's Arbitration Hearing

The Rays win no matter which was this thing goes.

Upton has been worth 3.9, 4.8, and 2.5 wins over the last three years. His free agent market value is something like $12M in a down market. Yeah, he has a .735 OPS over the last two seasons, but he's an elite defensive centerfielder. Those guys don't have to have .900 OPS to be stars, they just don't. Upton's career OPS through his 24-year-old season is .765. Here's some perspective on how other recent centerfield stars have managed through that age:

Johnny Damon: .735 (2,006 PA)

Andruw Jones: .824 (3,312 PA)

Carlos Beltran: .796 (1,879 PA)

Bernie Williams: .726 (1,295 PA)

Torii Hunter: .704 (799 PA)

Ken Griffey Jr.: .920 (3,606 PA)

Guys like Jim Edmonds and Mike Cameron weren't even full-time players by the age of 24 and they're amongst the top five defensive centerfielders of the last decade, if not the top two.  Obviously a defensive heavy centerfielder isn't what people dreamed for five (or even two) years ago, but players change positions and potential isn't static.

For those wondering if Upton will pout and punt the season, don't forget that after his ridiculous 2007 season the Rays actually reduced his salary. He responded by posting the best WAR of his career while playing with a torn labrum. I think he can deal with making a third of his market value instead of a little over a third.