The Detroit Tigers and free agent outfielder Justin Upton have agreed to a six-year deal worth $132.75 million according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
This is a huge signing for Detroit as Upton was considered one of the best power bats on the free agent market.
Upton joined the San Diego Padres last winter in a trade from the Atlanta Braves and enjoyed a solid one-and-done season with the team. In 150 games, he hit 26 home runs, drove in 81 runs, stole 19 bases, and hit .251 with a .336 OBP. Playing at the spacious Petco Park didn’t affect his numbers, as he hit 15 home runs at home while producing much better numbers across the board at home than on the road.
At $20+ million per season AAV, it’s a lot of cash to hand out, but Upton is still just 28-years-old and that’s the cost of a player of his caliber in this free agent market. If Upton has a huge year after two seasons with the Tigers, he can opt-out and earn even more cash with another free agent contract.
This is the second time the Tigers opened their wallets wide this offseason, as they inked Jordan Zimmermann to a five-year deal worth $110 million. Detroit’s lineup is poised to be strong, as Upton joins Miguel Cabrera, Nick Castellanos, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, and Cameron Maybin. He’ll likely slot in at the two-hole in the lineup but in reality, he can end up anywhere from two to six.
After six straight winning seasons, the Tigers plummeted to a 74-87 record in 2015, placing them dead last in the AL Central. With big free agent moves like signing Zimmermann and now Upton, they’re making sure last year doesn’t repeat itself.