Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that free agent slugging outfielder Justin Upton and the Detroit Tigers agree to a six year deal. The Tigers have come up as potential dark horse teams for Upton, fellow outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, infielder Ian Desmond with the intention to play him in the outfield, and even first baseman/outfielder Chris Davis before he re-signed with Baltimore.
Nightengale also provided the details of this deal
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 19, 2016
Ken Rosenthal first reported that the two sides were in agreement
Sources: #Tigers in discussions with free-agent outfielder Justin Upton.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 19, 2016
The Tigers lineup projects to be entirely right-handed except for designated hitter Victor Martinez, who his a switch hitter. Upton has a career OPS of .886 against left handed pitchers and .805 OPS against right handers.
Upton has hit 15 or more home runs in each of the last eight years. Although his RBI numbers are low, having no less than 65 in seven of the last eight seasons, he’s still a dependable hitter. He’s has a career .473 slugging percentage and has, as I’ve stated, been able to consistently be a productive hitter.
The money is a bit much, yes. However, Detroit fills their gap in left field (Anthony Gose and Tyler Collins were the only options), Upton gets paid. It works out for both sides. The San Diego Padres will receive a draft pick as compensation.