MLB Trade Deadline: Phillies, Rangers step up pursuit for Rays' B.J. Upton

With Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran bound for the Bay Area, reports indicate that the Phillies and Rangers are stepping up their efforts to land outfielder B.J. Upton. Multiple reports have said that pitching prospect Zack Wheeler will be the centerpiece of the deal, but no word on whether or not anyone else will be in the deal. The Phillies reportedly had Vince Worley on the table, but the Mets were hesitant to deal within the division.

Upton is hitting .227 with 15 home runs and a .307 on-base percentage in 97 games this season, and has seen his batting average decline every year since 2007. Still, the soon-to-be 27-year old has a bright future and could see a big turnaround going to a winning team. 

An NL source indicated that Astros outfielder Hunter Pence is off the market, making Upton now the most coveted outfielder on the market. Even though he is in a down year, he won't be a free agent until after the 2012 season and interest is only growing. Aside from the Rangers and Phillies, the Braves, Nationals, and Brewers have all expressed interest and could pull the trigger before Sunday.  

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