Justin Upton to Tigers: Key Takeaways from OF's Introductory Press Conference

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2016

Jul 14, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; National League outfielder Justin Upton (10) of the San Diego Padres prior to the 2015 MLB All Star Game at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers and Justin Upton made their partnership official on Wednesday, as the 28-year-old outfielder officially signed his six-year contract and met with the media for his introductory press conference. 

First things first, per MLB GIFs, Upton had to show off what he looked like in his new Tigers threads:

One topic addressed by Upton's agent, Larry Reynolds, was the opt-out clause after 2017, per Matthew B. Mowery of the Oakland Press:   

Before Upton had an opportunity to discuss his new home, Tigers general manager Al Avila praised team owner Mike Ilitch for pushing the deal, per the Tigers' official media relations department:

Avila added that the Tigers had Upton very high on their wish list if they opted to make another move this offseason, per Mowery:

Sticking with Ilitch, Upton also gave praise to the Tigers owner for being aggressive, per the Tigers' official media relations department:

Ilitch, who is 86 years old, has been happy to spend money in hopes of bringing Detroit its first World Series victory since 1984. According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Tigers are spending a franchise-record $184.6 million on talent this season after signing Upton. 

Regarding the fact the Tigers are nearing MLB's luxury-tax threshold of $189 million, per Mowery, Avila said it's "a good question for Mr. I(litch). He's comfortable with it, and that's what counts."

Looking at how the money is being spent, Upton made an astute observation about Detroit's hitters, per MLB on Twitter:

With the addition of Upton, the Tigers are boasting a lineup that features Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez and Victor Martinez. That's an old core, as J.D. Martinez (age 28) and Upton are the only players under the age of 32, but if they play close to their potential, it will be a scary group. 

Another aspect of Detroit's lineup that's drawn some criticism lately is the platoon splits against right-handed hitters, something Upton addressed, per the Tigers' official media relations department:

Avila also touched on the platoon question around his lineup, making a great point that isn't mentioned much, per Mowery:

According to FanGraphs' ZiPS projections by Carson Cistulli, the Tigers project to have nine players hit at least 15 home runs and have six hitters with an above-average (100) OPS+. 

Upton is at an age where his skills can reasonably be expected to get better. At least, he can be expected to maintain his 25-homer production from the past three seasons and increase his batting average (.251) and on-base percentage (.336) from last year now that he's out of the vast wasteland of San Diego's Petco Park. 

The Tigers have no reason to think that Upton will be anything less than a solid hitter in the middle of their lineup. He's been a three-time All-Star and a two-time Silver Slugger winner, so this is a great marriage between a player who wants to win and a team built to win now.