The Detroit Tigers are having an unprecedented offseason. They’ve signed the likes of Jordan Zimmerman and Justin Upton, giving both long-term $100 Million contracts. The Upton signing has had baseball fans and analysists buzzing. Some believe the Tigers are too right handed, while others think this lineup can touch the Toronto Blue Jays. I’m going to explain why I believe Upton made the correct choice when he signed in Detroit.
First off, let’s run down the teams Justin has been on. He started his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who selected him first overall in the 2005 MLB First-Year Player Draft. He was immediately thrust into the spotlight as “the next big thing”. He was called up on August 2nd, 2007 and got his first career hit two days later. He helped lead the DBacks to the postseason and exploded. Even though the DBacks lost to the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 NLCS, Upton impressed. He finished with a .357 batting average and a .571 slugging percentage.
Upton emerged as a star with the DBacks. In 2013, he was dealt to the Atlanta Braves in a nine player deal, which united him with his brother Melvin (known then as B.J). The Braves were lauded as a team that could do a bunch of damage. However, the Braves didn’t do much and the Upton brothers were both dealt to the San Diego Padres in separate trades before the 2015 season.
Justin Upton revitalized himself in 2015, which was capped off by his six year deal with the Tigers. Now to the point. Why are the Tigers the perfect fit for Upton?
It’s simple if you think about it. Detroit’s lineup is good on paper. No one wants to pitch to Miguel Cabrera or J.D Martinez , so who does that leave? That leaves Upton and Victor Martinez. Upton doesn’t have to be “the man” in Detroit. He can sit back and focus on baseball. You know, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez said that they learned a lot from watching each other hit. Here is a perfect situation for Upton because he can learn from Miggy, V-Mart, and the others. He can also help guide some of the younger hitters on that roster, like James McCann. He’s been around the game for close to 11 years, and that experience can be valuable to a team.
Photo Credit: Steve Perez/Detroit News via AP