Well ... maybe Upton needs glasses!
Maybe the kid has ADHD or something ... I dunno'. Maybe the hitting coach su*cks ... I dunno'. Upton the baseball player is ... totally unscrutable. After eight-plus seasons ... he's just inexorably and inexplicably inconsistent.
(Frankly, I've stopped caring about it ... and I try to just ignore his presence and whatever he happens to do ... or not do. For me ... keeping him around all this time has been the equivalent of shoveling ---- against the tide.)
You know, situational hitting stats don't lie ... so ... if a player isn't exceptionally good in those tight situations where and when the game is on the line ... if he isn't good ESPECIALLY "when it counts most" ... then I really wouldn't be interested in putting out that kind of dough to employ him. Different strokes for different folks ... but the only guy I might look to sign out of free agency is a youngish guy who is DEMONSTRABLY what I would call "a money player" ... the guy who almost invariably comes through when all the chips are on the table ... maybe a position player like a Reggie Jackson ... maybe a pitcher like Clemens or Ryan.
As far as the Rays go, they're taking in somewhere around $200 million annually. Obviously, they have recurring bills to pay ... BUT ... there's always a profit ... or a draw-down ... or a take-out ... or a pay-back to the partners ... and ... how much of that "excess" revenue they might decide to spend on signing a Shields, Upton or any other free agent ... is anybody's guess.
As far as I'm concerned ... if Neimann returns to his original form ... or ... if I feel Davis is better suited to return to starting ... and if I'm confident in Cobb, Hellickson and Moore long-term ... I'm going to let Shields go. Likewise ... Jennings ... already on the team and very inexpensivly so ... is the already-on-hand and automatic replacement for Upton ... so ... I'm going to let him go, too.
Shields becomes a free agent at the end of the 2013 season ... and Upton becomes a free agent at the end of this season ... so ... maybe Shields has some trade value now because he still has the rest of this season and next to go while under an existing contract ... but Upton doesn't have much trade value when he only has four months to go under his existing contract ... so ... if the Rays would seriously want to trade either instead of getting just compensatory draft picks ... it would seem they might have to first re-sign both to multi-year contracts. (???)
So ... who knows. Whatever they do, they do. We sure don't have any say in it.