justin upton padresRemember when Justin Upton was going to have to take a one-year deal and go back to the market next offseason?

Neither do I. I remember when people were¬†saying that, but I don’t remember when that was actually a reality.

Hence tonight’s report from USA Today that Upton has signed a six-year deal with the Detroit Tigers. For now, the dollar amount is not in the report, but the implication is that Upton will receive close to $23 million annually.

Given his relative youth (28) and huge right-handed power, Upton is a very attractive player in free agency, even if you accept his potential defensive limitations and notable streakiness. It’s another big player¬†headed to the American League, too, after a stretch where it seemed like every major transaction was happening in the NL.



Upton’s market was always a bit foggy, so it’s not immediately easy to say what the fallout is here. We do know, however, that the Tigers had been connected to Dexter Fowler, so this very well be yet another team out of his market. It’s increasingly difficult to predict where Fowler will wind up, and, while it’s still very implausible, the teeny tiny chance that Fowler has to wait to sign until after draft pick compensation falls away is getting a little less teeny tinier. Remember: when Fowler signs, the Cubs will, effectively, get their second round pick in the 2016 draft back. As it stands right now, however, the Cubs do not pick until the third round.

I can still argue that the Nationals, Mets, Cardinals, and White Sox, at a minimum, make sense for Fowler. I don’t think the Cubs do, absent a silly bargain (not likely) or a trade involving Jorge Soler (also not likely).

UPDATE: Bob Nightengale provides the numbers:

Sure enough, that’s a little over $22 million per year. And Upton’s getting an early opt-out, just like everyone else these days:

That’s pretty remarkable when you consider how huge the guarantee is already.


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