Free-agent outfielder Justin Upton signed with the Detroit Tigers on Monday. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the deal is for six years, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today noted Upton will get $132.75 million.
Nightengale also reported Upton will undergo his physical on Thursday and a press conference is scheduled to follow.
Upton has proved over his nine-year career that he is one of the most well-rounded outfielders in the majors. He earned a trip to his third All-Star Game in 2015 during his first and only season with the San Diego Padres.
While a change of scenery can sometimes slow a player down, Upton continued to produce with the Padres, batting .251 with 26 home runs and 81 RBI after the Atlanta Braves traded him in December 2014.
The Padres, who tried to build up their roster in the offseason to compete in the National League West, didn't live up to the hype, going 74-88 and finishing fourth in the division.
The 28-year-old is a consistent power threat, having hit at least 17 home runs in each of the last six seasons. Still in his prime, he might be able to replicate the career-high 31 home runs he bashed in 2011.
Upton also has speed to complement his power. He stole 19 bags in 2015, two off his career-best mark from 2011.
This was a difficult offseason for an outfielder to hit the market with the likes of Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Gordon and Jason Heyward also searching for suitors, and those players being available could have delayed Upton's deal with the Tigers.
But with the addition of Upton, the Tigers are a dangerous team again. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports weighed in on their potential lineup next season:
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Kinsler, Iglesias, Miggy, Upton, Victor, J.D., Maybin, Castellanos, McCann. Holy hell Detroit is going to have some kind of a lineup.1/19/2016, 2:37:12 AM
Even with all those high-end names, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports pointed to one possible concern:
Jon Morosi @jonmorosi
Justin Upton gives #Tigers one of deepest lineups in #MLB, albeit very right-handed. Detroit went 53-70 vs. RH starters in '15.1/19/2016, 3:03:31 AM
Righty-heavy lineup or not, Detroit needed to make a move on the offensive side after it finished a dismal 74-87 last year and in last place in the American League Central. Adding a power bat like Upton will help an offense that tied for 15th in the majors in runs scored and was 18th in home runs in 2015.
The Tigers need to produce better offensive numbers in a division that includes the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals, and Upton should help them do just that.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
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